Chevrolet Takes The ‘Heartbeat’ Slogan to a Global Pulse

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Wall Street Journal

Alan Batey, expected to be named Chevro­let brand chief world-wide, believes the brand should have global emo­tional recog­ni­tion, not just in the U.S.A.

Find out what Batey has in mind to unify Chevro­let strat­egy abroad.

Gen­eral Motors Co. once sold Chevro­let as the “Heart­beat of America.”

Now, Alan Batey, who is expected this week to be named Chevro­let brand chief world-wide, believes the cars should quicken pulses in China, Rus­sia and Brazil, too.

“When you go back in time and look at when we were at our best, it was when Chevro­let had prod­ucts that moved people’s minds and con­nected to them on an emo­tional basis,” Mr. Batey said in a recent inter­view. “They were cars for the peo­ple and cars for fam­i­lies, and we are mov­ing back to that.”

Chevys account for 70% of GM’s about 9.3 mil­lion in global vehi­cle sales and were a big chunk of its $152.26 bil­lion in 2012 sales. But GM sorely needs a rein­vig­o­rated Chevro­let to reverse a mar­ket share decline. The main­stream brand’s share is now track­ing at a his­toric low in the U.S., where it fell to 12.8% last month. Six years ago it was 14%.

As goes Chevro­let, so goes GM. The auto maker’s share of world-wide light-vehicle sales is stuck at about 11%, esti­mates researcher Kel­ley Blue Book. In the U.S., GM’s mar­ket share slid to 18% through May, close to lev­els not seen since the 1920s.

Chief Exec­u­tive Dan Aker­son is push­ing to make Chevro­let the company’s key brand in 140 coun­tries around the world by offer­ing a wide selec­tion, from low-cost com­pact cars to fam­ily sedans and work trucks.

“This is the year both Chevy and GM need to increase their mar­ket share,” says Tom Libby, an ana­lyst with R.L. Polk & Co. “If they aren’t going to do it when they have a huge prod­uct blitz, then when?”

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