Chevy Volt – An American Revolution in Energy Independence
This paper begins by analyzing the marketing environment of the GM/Chevrolet Volt and then discusses the target market for this electric extended range vehicle along with a proposed marketing strategy and recommendations. Marketing Environment
The market environment refers to all of the forces that affect marketing management’s ability to build and maintain successful relationships with target customers. It consists of both a macro-environment and a micro-environment. Some of the forces can be controlled by the company and some of the forces cannot. The micro-environment at Chevrolet includes such things as departments within the company, suppliers, dealerships, customers, competitors, and publics. The macro-environment at Chevrolet includes forces that are part of the larger society and includes the concepts of demography, economy, natural forces, technology, politics, and culture. The macro-environment forces can and often do affect the micro-environment (Wikipedia, 2009).
The following sections will expand on the micro-environmental factors within Chevrolet to describe the marketing environment for the Chevy Volt. Each department in the company can have an impact on marketing decisions. Based on research about the target market and features of competitors’ cars, the marketing department plays a very important roll in recommending what features are desirable to appeal to larger segment of customers and attempt to neutralize the competition as a threat to sales. After analyzing what customers want, it’s up to the research and development department to determine what is possible based on technology with an eye to drive costs down when they can. It is up to the leaders of the company to determine the level of effort on introducing new technology into the new cars, and the accounting department provides guidance if the manufacturing and marketing cost goals are attainable. In 1980, the market share for GM was 45 percent, but that number has dropped steadily at 0.7 percent per year to about 22 percent in 2008 (Wall Street Journal, 2009). With the company facing bankruptcy, the leaders of the company knew they had to do something to get back some of the automobile market share, so in 2007 they put the wheels in motion to roll out the Chevy Volt that GM claims will leapfrog the competition (Welch, 2008). The environment at GM is currently one of survival for the whole company after the bankruptcy and government bailout. According to a poll by JD Power, the percentage of consumers who considered a hybrid-electric vehicle is up from 50 percent in 2007 to 62 percent in 2008, and 39 percent of the respondents in their survey believe manufacturers should focus on developing emerging technologies not currently available in the market, such as fuel-cell and electric vehicles (JD Powers, 2008). There are numerous competitors in the hybrid segment all trying to capture their share of the market. Some competitors to the Volt are the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, Honda Insight, Volkswagen Jetta, and the Nissan Leaf. The main rival for the Chevy Volt is currently the third generation Toyota Prius (GM-Volt.com, 2009). The Prius has been around for a while and has sold over 250K vehicles world-wide in 2008 (Murphy, 2009). Current estimates for the new Prius are 48 miles per gallon city and 45 miles per gallon highway (GM-Volt.com, 2009). The new Prius will sell for about $22K. The Prius currently has the best positioning in the hybrid market because they have an established reputation. The Fusion has an EPA rating of 41 city and 36 highway miles per gallon and is classified as a mid-sized sedan and sells for approximately $27K. The Honda Insight does not have any official EPA ratings yet, but they expect it to be in the low 40 miles per gallon. The Insight is a little smaller than the Fusion and is expected to be priced around $19K....
References: General Motors Corporation (2008, December 31). GMC 2009-2014 Restructuring Plan. Retrieved August 23, 2009, from: http://media.gm.com/us/gm/en/ news/govt/docs/plan.pdf
JD Powers (2008). 2008 Automotive Environmental Index. Retrieved August 24, 2009, from: http://www.jdpower.com/autos/articles/2008-Automotive-Environmental-Index
Klein, J. (2007). Topline Strategy Group: Why People Really Buy Hybrids. Retrieved August 24, 2009, from: http://www.toplinestrategy.com/Topline_Strategy_Report_ Why_People_Really_Buy_Hybrids.pdf
Scarborough Research (2007, December 4). Hybrid Vehicle Owners are Wealthy, Active, Educated and Overwhelmingly Democratic. Retrieved August 24, 2009, from: http://www.scarborough.com/press_releases/Hybrid%20FINAL%2012.4.07.pdf
Wall Street Journal (2009, March 30). GM February 17 Plan, Viability Determination. Retrieved August 23, 2009, from: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/GM-Viability-Assessment-20090330.pdf
Wikipedia (2009, August 22). Marketing Environment. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_environment
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