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General Motors Says It Invested Heavily to Market EV1

May 24, 2000

Your story in last week's Highway 1 section on the California electric vehicle mandate made it clear that reporter John O'Dell failed to do his homework with regard to the EV1 ("Shootout at the EV Corral," May 17).

General Motors spent more than $350 million developing our trend-setting electric vehicle, and we have expended unprecedented resources on launching, marketing and promoting it since the car's debut in 1996.

We have spent millions of dollars on an award-winning advertising campaign for the EV1, including on network and local television, on billboards, in major and local print media and on the Internet.

In California, ad expenditures for the EV1--dollar for dollar--exceeded that of many conventional vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Oldsmobile Intrigue or Pontiac Montana minivan. In fact, the EV1's advertising budget was 10 times that of conventional models when you consider how many sales--about 900, not the 400 that O'Dell reported--resulted from the advertising. It was perhaps the biggest launch of any vehicle in California history.

In addition, we have spent millions of dollars training and building a dedicated team of EV1 marketing specialists, spread throughout California, whose sole job is to go out into the community and sell the EV1. No other brand at General Motors has benefited from a stand-alone sales team such as this. They have taken the car to hundreds of special events, festivals and fairs over the last four years, offering personalized test drives to a broad cross-section of the public.

But we didn't stop there. GM has expended enormous time and millions of additional dollars helping create the electric vehicle infrastructure that exists today in California. We have either invested in or helped coordinate the installation of virtually every public charging station in the state. To accomplish this, we worked with a diverse group of stake holders that included insurance companies, fire departments, utility companies, environmental groups, other auto makers and private individuals.

Despite these extraordinary and unprecedented efforts, the market demand for electric vehicles has failed to materialize with any significance, beyond the few but loyal customers we now have. General Motors was the first to commit to the production of an electric vehicle before there were mandates. Our marketing commitment has been enormous and unmatched by any other manufacturer.

If the EV market has not developed, it is not because of GM's lack of marketing. It is because of Californians' lack of desire. We love the EV1 consumers we now have. We just wish there were more of them out there.


Brand Manager

Advanced Technology Vehicles

General Motors Corp.

Troy, Mich.

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