Chevrolet Takes The ‘Heartbeat’ Slogan to a Global Pulse


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?”