The electric Chevrolet Silverado is shown at the New York Auto Show, April, 2022.
Scott is dim CNBC
When people think of electric cars, their minds usually jump to Tesla. But Elon Musk’s company now has a lot of EV competition from Detroit.
During the last six years, General motor CEO Mary Barra has pushed the company to transition from gas vehicles to electric as deals and consumer interest grow. GM plans Hertz sells up to 175,000 electric cars to Global By 2027 – Rentals are a key method to introduce more people to EVs without committing to purchase. And so did the company Closed Reservations for its high-end all-electric Hummer last week after reaching 90,000 people.
Reservations and price hikes aren’t just about an absolute level of off-the-charts demand — supply chain constraints and limited production for new models are key factors.
That crowded EV landscape is shaping GM’s marketing differently, GM CMO Deborah Wahl told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin at a recent CNBC CMO Exchange virtual event.
“We have to be smarter,” Wahl said. “Since we’ve changed from horses to cars, I think there’s been more competitive activity, more innovation than at any other time in automotive history.”
The message from the auto giants is clear.
With the economy under uncertainty and costs under closer scrutiny as inflation pinches consumers and affects purchasing decisions, Wahl told CNBC that GM is focused on core objectives and that “for us right now, it’s working on the transition. From EVs to the industry.” .
Hummer’s move into the EV world shows that auto companies are betting on continued interest at the high end of the market, where Tesla made his name. Mercedes, too, is Bets that luxury consumers will continue to lead The EV adoption curve. But a transformation is also happening across the auto category, with GM rebranding as an EV company with the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. It features a growing range of electric vehicles, from the Chevrolet Silverado (along with its rival, the F-150). The two most popular cars in the U.S.) are under $30,000 with the Cadillac Lyric and its base model Bolt sedan.
“We’ve made it very clear that we’re going all-EV in our portfolio, and getting everyone on board with that at this point is a really big consumer challenge,” Wahl said.
Here are some key ideas from GM that Wahl shared with CNBC about how the auto company plans to make EVs a mass-market success.
Let’s ask a lot of questions of car buyers
According to a recent Pew Foundation survey, two-thirds of Americans support providing government incentives for EV purchases. However, only 42% of Americans are very likely or somewhat likely to purchase one. While people recognize the benefits of EVs, such as helping the environment and saving money on gas, these factors alone are not enough to convince the public to switch to EVs.
That’s why GM is doing everything it can to educate customers about EVs and make them feel comfortable making the switch.
“People are at different levels of EV knowledge, and so they need different information,” Wahl said. “It’s a different exchange overall.”
GM’s video chat platform is GM EV Live Allows customers to call live showrooms, ask questions and gain a greater understanding of GM’s electric vehicles without traveling to a dealership, whether a customer is interested in charging, mileage or new technology features.
GM first began this move toward virtual showrooms with Dentsu Aegis Network in 2017 when the companies partnered together to launch a mixed-reality dealership application. Over the years, GM has built other virtual showrooms like Chevy MyWay and Cadillac Live, but GM EV Live is the first EV-only showroom GM is offering.
Focus on all in-car technology, not just EV technology
GM is focusing on advancing technology to create a better and safer driving experience with sleeker models for EVs. On-the-go charging capabilities, active noise cancellation speakers and hands-free driver assistance are among the many technological advancements from GM that will impress even the EV-weary.
“They’re already mesmerizing people because the experience is so stunning, not just the core driving, but the technology you have inside,” says Wahl.
While GM’s technology is finding ways to attract more EV customers, the company still faces the challenge of getting consumers on board with the concept of autonomous vehicles. GM is currently testing its first autonomous vehicle unit Cruise in San Francisco, and it aims to eventually have all of its vehicles powered by electricity and autonomous.
Maintain core principles through EV
Wahl said one thing that hasn’t changed is the underlying principles of marketing.
“I believe in the core fundamentals of marketing, which is telling a story, telling it well, doing it in an engaging fashion, and if you’re really good, you make a cultural impact,” he said.
For more than a century now, GM has influenced American culture and cemented its presence as a leading auto manufacturer. Hence, it is crucial to maintain the company’s own identity even after it converts to EVs.
GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra addresses investors at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan on October 6, 2021.
Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors
For example, Cadillac is getting a remake as a luxury EV brand, starting with the Cadillac Lyric.
Cadillac’s journey has been iconic, and so is its new tagline, says Wahl: Be Iconic. “And if you look at how they’re expressing themselves, they’ve gone back to redefining the core of who Cadillac was but for the modern day, and they’re doing it with the Lyriq EV which completely redefines luxury. EVs,” he said.
With a starting price of $59,990, The Lyric will be the first electric Cadillac on the marketBut GM isn’t stopping there, as other electric Cadillacs are already in the works, e.g cadillac celestic, Which will start production by the end of this year.
Keep up with celebrity and influential trends
The world of celebrity endorsements doesn’t look the same as it did ten years ago, and GM is partnering with iconic celebrities from NBA star LeBron James to TikTok influencer Breland with new social media personalities in new ways.
In a recent ad for the Hummer EV, James shows off the car’s crabwalk capability, which lets you drive diagonally and enables greater maneuverability for parking or off-roading.
The Hummer EV is also being promoted in video games like “Call of Duty,” and GM is expanding beyond creating traditional ads with a new focus on social media platforms.
“Influencers are the new media channel,” says Wahl.
Joining forces with Breland, a TikTok influencer who went viral for making music, GM made its first TikTok debut for Chevrolet. Performing a parody version of his song “My Truck,” Breland sang about Chevy trucks, while various Chevrolet Silverados were featured throughout TikTok.
“It allows us to get key messages to the right audience at the right time,” Wahl said. “It’s pretty easy to see, you know, which influencers influence which targets.”