Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chevrolet's Ads Are Misleading

I recently came across a Chevrolet ad in TIME magazine, and the page was all green with some leaves floating to the ground. The message in the advertisement reads as this:
"Chevy offers more models than Toyota or Honda* with an est. 30 MPG highway or better. *Or Nissan or Hyundai or VW..."
Now, I'm sure you can imagine how difficult I found this to believe. So, I did a little investigating to see if Chevy is stretching the truth. The following is a list of cars they list on their Web site for this campaign as having 30+ MPG:
  1. Cobalt XFE Coupe — 37 MPG
  2. Cobalt XFE Sedan — 37 MPG
  3. Malibu Hybrid — 34 MPG (only one more than the nonhybrid...)
  4. Aveo 5 — 34 MPG
  5. Aveo Sedan — 34 MPG
  6. Malibu — 33 MPG
  7. HHR — 32 MPG
  8. HHR Panel — 32 MPG
Notice how they count the same car twice because it's a slightly different version? Misleading, I think, but let's do the same thing with Toyota because Chevy mentions how they have more models than the other automakers, so let's test one of them out:
  1. Yaris — 36 MPG
  2. Corolla — 35 MPG
  3. Matrix — 32 MPG
  4. Camry — 31 MPG
  5. Solara — 31 MPG
  6. Prius — 45 MPG
  7. Camry Hybrid — 34 MPG
It appears Chevy actually does beat Toyota by one model. I checked Honda, too, who ties Chevy with eight models, but Chevy likely didn't count the one hydrogen-powered model. Hyundai also has eight models if you count all versions of each car just as Chevy did with its own cars. That makes the statement "more" by Chevy a lie. The other two companies mentioned in the ad were Nissan and VW. Nissan does have few 30+ models, coming in at five, and VW has a pretty clunky Web site, but I'm guessing they don't come in as high as their Asian friends.

So, because Honda and Hyundai tie Chevy, and because Toyota is only one behind, taking out a full-page green ad that touts "more" from Chevy hardly seems truthful. This is just another example of greenwashing to make a buck, when Chevy hardly ranks as a top green company. In fact, Forbes named Honda as the greenest automaker last year, followed by Toyota and then Hyundai. General Motors (Chevy) came in just one from the bottom above DaimlerChrysler. These rankings were determined by looking at overall fuel economy and emissions.

Note: This blog, however, is green. Notice the green image encouraging recycling in this post. Also, this blog is 100-percent paper free. I also reuse other Web sites by hyperlinking. I reduce the energy used by my laptop when writing blog posts by typing insanely fast.


TOPolk said...

I noticed the same thing in Chevy's recent ads. As a Toyota owner ('07 Camry), I take any direct comparisons personally. No bother though, for while they may claim to have more, it's obvious to almost everyone that their cars (all-around) are lacking when compared to their foreign counterparts.

Can't blame 'em for tryin' though.

JD said...

I totally agree. I guess I should disclose that I'm also a Toyota owner. Ha. But yeah, I don't have much sympathy for the big three automakers when their American cars fail to inspire or to be as green. My family started out owning American cars, but after dealing with repair after repair and loophole after loophole in warranties, we drive foreign.

Thanks for reading and commenting.