General Motors' sales fell off more than 25% in May, thanks largely to a precipitous drop in large SUV and pickup truck sales. To counter the drop GM is going to focus on pushing its two-mode hybrid large SUVs. The company thinks more people would buy them if only they were aware they existed.
Seeking to bridge the perception gap on big hybrids, GM will launch a new advertising campaign to show the public that the cars do in fact exist, reports Automotive News
"There's very little awareness that we even have these products," said GM vice president for North American sales and marketing Mark LaNeve. "We're going to be constrained by battery availability, but we still think that we could work it up to 5 to 10 percent of our full-sized SUV sales."
The battery shortage LaNeve mentioned was due to the recent production fumble
at battery supplier Cobasys. The subsequent recall has put the company well off its expected annual hybrid production. Because of the strain the problem has placed on the already troubled battery manufacturer GM is now considering buying the company
to ensure its battery supply is free from further interruptions.
Even if GM does manage to improve sales of its large hybrids, however, it will not be in large enough quantity to offset the losses in its conventional-engine line-up. On the other hand, boosting awareness of the big SUVs' existence may serve to improve GM's image even if it can't help with the short-term bottom line.