Examiner Writer Gets General Motors, Chevy Volt Stupendously Wrong12
Writing for the Examiner.com, “Richmond Advertising Examiner” Bruce Goldman’s not-so-factual story opens with the following:
“GM running dishonest, misleading commercials is practically a dog-bites-man story, too commonplace to warrant news coverage. But this time, it’s man bites dog. Because this time, they got caught. And they got caught because of where they tried to run it.”
Goldman, a self-proclaimed “copywriter and creative director in New York, Miami and Richmond” and winner of “414 international, national, regional, local and industry awards for advertising creativity and effectiveness”, is referring to the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) decision to ban the Pioneer ad (below) for the Vauxhall Ampera due to its supposedly misleading nature:
As it stands, the ASA ruled that the ad was deceptive due to the spot not mentioning the onboard gasoline engine-generator that’s part of the Voltec powertrain.
Facts are facts, and the ASA’s ruling should be taken at face value. Unfortunately, Goldman seems to lack the slightest idea about the global automotive industry and sprinkles this bouquet of confetti:
“GM’s $659 million deal to put the Chevrolet bowtie on the back of soccer team Manchester Union’s uniform jerseys notwithstanding, GM doesn’t sell Chevrolets anywhere in Europe. And that includes the British Isles.”
Inaccuracy #1, Bruce: they do sell Chevys all over Europe — and sales are growing at a steady pace. And it’s Manchester United— not Union — with whom Chevy struck a sponsorship deal — the purpose of which is to increase Chevy sales even further.
Unsurprisingly, Goldman’s entire story goes downhill from there.
“Of course, this is far from the first time that GM tried to put the con in consumer advertising. It’s just the first time the authorities caught them at it.”
Oh really? Let’s see some examples.
“A Volt commercial called “Just the Facts,” for example, completely ignored them, implying that the battery fires that made them change their product didn’t exist, exaggerating the importance of some run-of-the-mill certifications and industry awards, and — oh, yes — grossly overstating the Volt’s “extended range.”
Who needs facts when you have Bruce Goldman? As long as we’re talking facts:
- The Volt was cleared of any relationship to any fires
- The most prominent of these was a colossal error by the NHTSA when it didn’t follow basic first-responder instructions following a crash-test of the Volt, leaving the plugin extended range electric vehicle sitting in a garage for weeks following the test, still without following those instructions.
- Professional first responders would not have done that, since they were trained on properly taking care of the vehicle following an accident — all prior to the car’s launch.
In other words, inaccuracy #2.
Moreover, we’re left scratching our heads at how “Just the Facts” overstated the Volt’s extended range as Goldman claims. Here’s what it does state:
- The Chevy Volt was one of the most awarded cars in 2011, citing awards such as the 2011 North American Car of the Year, 2011 Ward’s 10 Best Engines, 2011 Automobile Magazine Automobile of the Year, 2011 Green Car Journal Green Car of the Year
- The Volt’s battery has been tested for more than 395,000 hours
- The Volt has received the highest overall vehicle score for safety possible, being recognized as a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick
In other words, Goldman the automotive expert, calls the aforementioned awards “run of the mill” and that the ad “grossly overstated the Volt’s extended range”. In Goldman’s world, every car wins the COTY (and European COTY, mind you) and 10 best engines… and every car also gets the highest crash test score possible. Inaccuracies #3 and #4.
You’d think Goldman would have stopped by now, but he strikes again:
“A corporate commercial boasted that GM, having fallen, was now “back up” — this when its U.S. sales, market share and stock prices were all markedly down.”
But profits were (and are) up. Way to present all the facts, Bruce… in fact, the above argument is eerily analogous to Vauxhall not presenting the engine range-extender clearly in the Pioneer ad. Inaccuracy #5.
Goldman carries on with the misguided rampage:
In 2010, then-CEO Ed Whitacre starred in a standup spot claiming that GM had repaid its government loans ahead of schedule when 87% of the balance was still owing.
GM has paid back the loans. The “balance” is not a balance and is not part of any loan, but an equity stake by the government. Inaccuracy #6.
Then Goldman commits the ultimate contradiction. He brings up a Bloomberg News report stating that the “Volt’s cost of ownership matches the average car when including the $7,500 U.S. tax incentive and gasoline fuel savings.” Goldman asks, “How did they know this?”
Then, he does this:
In March of this year, an owner testimonial spot claimed that the Volt could save “a crapload of money.” In a very tongue-in-cheek fashion, Goldman states that “It can’t.”
Pardon the curiosity, sir, but how do you know that it can’t, while questioning Bloomberg’s research on the matter? Inaccuracy #7.
Right when we thought we’d reached the end of Goldman’s fallacious drivel, we get this:
So how come GM gets away with all this lying in the United States but gets rightly called to justice in the United Kingdom?
Well, the it’s not the British government that’s their biggest shareholder.
So Goldman doesn’t even know that the U.S. government has no effect on how General Motors is being run, yet he presents his highly-opinioated and terribly-inaccurate piece as undisputed fact. When did hating on an innovative product become the new black, and when did the blatant and inaccurate twisting of the facts start getting published?
Perhaps the UK’s ASA should take notice of his report and rule on its glaring inaccuracies, then ban the piece entirely. Better yet, Goldman should educate himself about what the Volt is and how it works, or simply drive one for a week.
PS: in the case that you want to become 10 percent dumber, Goldman’s original insanely idiotic spinmeister piece is located here in its entirety.
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Bruce Goldchild sounds more like a politician Not a journalist.
Bruce Goldchild sounds more like a REPUBLICAN Not a journalist. I say that tongue-in-cheek because one of the biggest proponents of the Volt is Bob Lutz, an admitted Republican. I’m sure other Republicans out there are for the Volt, but the establishment (read that as Limbaugh and O’Reilly) clearly isn’t. It’s sad.
I also writer for the Examiner. I cover autos and related. Unfortunately, the Examiner, in some areas, is becoming too much of a “personal pulpit” for those promoting narrow minded agendas ………. and in the process is starting to make Examiner sound like Fox News from some of their contributors
Examiner did not get it wrong, Not just Conservatives or “Establishment” Republicans who are tired of Establishment Lies(Global Warming,Oil Will run out,Electric is the future,Blah Blah,etc) People don’t want to Drive Politically Correct Cars and be an Pompous Snob,People don’t want to drive Politically Correct Cars and take as facts Such Establishment Liberal/Treehugging lies such as Fossil Fuels are running out, Alternatives,Ethanol,Hybrids,Electric is the future,that’s BS!.Wake up and Smell the Gasoline not the E85.
Jose, you are just dead wrong. Oil is a finite resource, so yes it will run out. At some point, perhaps way down the road, the world will have to rely on some form of alternative energy that is not a fossil fuel. There is just no getting around that. If technology makes it possible to use a cleaner burning fuel (such as natural gas) then I have to say why not?
The question is this: What is the best course of action in the interim — the time we have before oil runs out, or becomes so scare that it leads to world calamity. We are getting very close on batteries becoming viable for long distance driving, and the Volt concept extends that with the addition of a gasoline engine for those periods when the car cannot get plugged in.
In the U.S. this really has quite a lot to do with national security. We are involved in the middle east because we need to protect our oil interests, which is a huge part in keeping the economy afloat. (Most businesses use energy!) The advantage we have in the U.S., however, is our huge supply of cheap natural gas (NG). NG is easily transported to power plants, where it is essentially converted to electricity, and then to cars like the Volt. Oil could do the same, either a source to the power plant or directly to the car, but it is an imported fuel source, and from a nasty part of the world.
Start looking at the Volt in those terms. I know I am. When the batteries get a little better and prices drop a bit there will be one in my driveway. The problem for me is that I need a car body style that GM does not want to make (small hatch/wagon). Though the Volt is considered a hatch it is really more of a sedan. The roof is not useable and the back is curved so as to make interior rear space not especially useful for bulky items. C’mon GM, we need a practical version of the Volt.
That’s the problem with some people; they’ve adopted the “soviet style” understanding of science. The feel that findings of science MUST be politicalized and the findings are pursued or not pursused if they conflict with one’s politcal leanings.
That’s how things were in the Soviet union; matters of science were pursed or not pursued if the state felt they were a threat to its existance. The same can apply to individuals; individuals who feel that scientific findings might make them feel uncomfortable or perhaps frightened.
Science isn’t about finding data to support a poltical aim, it’s about asking a question about the natual world and THEN finding the evidence to support or not support the question.
If science tells us that eating too much sugar is bad for us, our behavour should adjust accordingly. You don’t blame the “anti-sugar lobbyist” because their aren’t any.
If science tells us that globally we are consuming too much of oil, our behaviour should adjust accordingly. You don’t blame the “eco-weenies” because they don’t control the rate of oil being consumed.
However, since some people perfer “soviet science”, they’ll politicize any issue. If an issue can be boiled down into the simplest of narratives (left poltics vs. right poltics), they’re run with it.
And from where I’m sitting, I’m watching you Americans tear yourselves apart over issues as if it could be catergorized as a “left thing” or a “right thing”.
Anybody ever listen to Andrew Wilkow on xm he rips GM everyday, and never mentions that Ford took 5.9 billon us taxpayers money from the Department of Energy to build the Ford Focus electric and c-max, but Wilkow never tells his audience about that one, Ford is the darling of this guy.
wow, how did a story about an ill-informed, ‘personal opinion/agenda as fact’ journalist [if he can be called that] become a comment battle over politics and ‘you don’t believe in science’?
either way, this type of stuff from the media is the number one obstacle GM is facing with the Volt. next to NONE of the journalist understand how the car works, what’s so significant about it’s technology, or why it is so revolutionary. unfortunately, their reporting on the Volt (and GM at large) reflects that.
i like the Volt, but when it’s the butt of ignorant “GM makes electric cars that catch on fire” jokes, or people hear about manufactured “scandals” on major automotive sights and blogs -like GM LIED about the engine never directly driving the wheels- and so on; it makes it that much harder for potential customers to wade through the bullsh#t and get to the facts about a awesome car.
in my opinion the Volt is a perfect example of electric/hybrid technology done right. but in the media’s eyes it’s just another whipping stick with which to eat down GM.
As a christian gearhead leaning towards the conservative side of things and a salesperson selling GM vehicles for over 35 years I am for GM(with the damned government out of it!!!!!!). I think the Volt is a far better idea than the leaf! Will I buy a Volt? No it is to expensive for the what little difference there is in economy over the new vehicles. GM, Ford & Chrysler all have vehicles that are rated well over 40MPG for half the price of the Volt. My 88 Pontiac gets on average 35-37 mpg and trips 39. I do not like nor tolerate liars, which includes all liberals, democrats, global warming alarmists, treehuggers, Pita, Sierra club, etc.
So some of you chumps who are classifying people who do not vote for the communist party(democrats) as being anti GM, better Get your head out of you donkey hole! There are many non liberal car lovers who are pro GM, Ford & Chrysler!
Wow! What’s in the water today? We have a “Christian gearhead” calling folks commies, chumps and people with their heads in donkeyholes!!!! – Then there’s Jose who seems to be clueless to the fact Mexico, the 2nd largest importer of crude oil to the USA, announced in 2009 that their oil wells had reached , AND PASSED their peak production. This means that from that date on, the wells have been producing less, less and LESS oil. Mexico oil exports are on the decline.
America’s huge economic problems today revolve around the lack of campaign finance reform and our extreme dependence upon other nations for energy needed by transportation and the military. Grawdaddy was correct that today with only two voices at extreme opposition in the U.S. government – everything gets politicized and seperated into black-and-white issues.
As a Christian car guy – I must apologize for folks like Steve. He needs to read the Bible a bit more and accuse and name-call quite a bit less. As a conservative-leaning independent I am the world’s biggest Volt proponent who tries hard to ignore uninformed journalist’s ramblings such as “self-proclaimed” expert Bruce Goldman’s and instead concentrate on success stories like the Chevy Volt, which has been heralded by experts in many fields who actually know what they’re talking about.
I find it hard to believe Steve sells cars, let alone knows cars at all.
Why? Because Steve says he finds it hard to believe there’s much motive to buy a Volt when so many cars that sell for less get nearly the same mileage. This could not be further from the truth. I’d say Steve’s employer should train him, or let him sell cars somewhere else. He certainly could never sell a Chevy Volt.
Steve – these many cars you speak of from GM, Ford and Chrysler ( and all others ) advertise 40 mpg, yet their COMBINED MPGs usually sit in the 23mpg range. A quick trip to Voltstats.com will show how many Volt owners are getting 150; 250 and even 500 mpg on a regular daily basis. You say you’re a “gearhead” so you should know about cars. One example: Let’s say you’re talking about a tiny subcompact that can achieve 40mpg HIGHWAY – sure the initial cost of ownership is low, but you are also buying a small commuter, or first car type automobile. The Volt is packed with high-end items and is a luxury compact vehicle that can run silently
. How can you compare the two? If you are talking an Eco Cruze or Malibu – there is no comparison to mileage or quality of ownership. While those vehicles appeal to some, it still is not a good comparison to a Volt.
Steve – “Christian” literally means “Christ-like”….and folks who use this label to describe themselves are definately not perfect ( nobody on Earth is perfect, of course ) – but they generally are people who are trying to become more like Christ day after day. You know Christ does not label people as commies because they prefer to support liberal issues and instead has compassion on all of us. You also know Jesus would never use trashy language to express a point.
One more comment: Steve, when you make claims like an ’88 Pontiac that gets 38 mpg, you should back them up. AT LEAST mention the model of the car, and then tell us how you track the mileage. Are you using a Scan Guage? Are you approximating? Because if you don’t tell us more, I could make a pretty accurate estimation that you are just talkin’ smack and can’t back up those claims. Many times mileage claims are like boat speed claims – everyone has a speedboat that does 100mph, you know?. You say you can’t tolerate “liars” but your facts are misleading and your claims unfounded.