GM offers some clarity to Chevy/Chevrolet debate

Chrissie Thompson covers General Motors for Automotive News
UPDATED: 6/11/10 4:08 pm ET For those of you still scratching your heads over Chevrolet's “Chevy” ban, the brand's U.S. sales chief is offering an on-camera explanation.

Chevy -- excuse me, Chevrolet -- posted this video on its YouTube channel yesterday. (Scroll down to see it.) If you're prone to motion sickness, beware. This one is pretty jiggly.

Alan Batey says GM employees can refer to Chevrolet by its age-old nickname, in spite of yesterday's memo's statement to the contrary.

“We love it when people call us Chevy,” Batey says. “It means that they're very attached to us, they're very close to us, and we're like a friend.”

Batey's concern is that Chevrolet isn't as well-known in the other 130 countries GM sells it in as it is here in the United States. Sticking with “Chevrolet” in marketing will maximize the leverage of the brand name worldwide, he says.

How will that play out in the United States? For one, look for references to or just plain “Chevy” to disappear gradually from marketing, Chevrolet spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin told me today.

But full-sized truck advertising may escape the global Chevrolet mandate.

“When you think for example about full-sized trucks, that's not really a global thing,” Martin said. “We might see ‘Chevy' related to trucks for quite some time. The same thing is true with racing -- for example, with NASCAR, which is very U.S.-centric.”

And in case you wondered: Martin confirmed the quarters jar idea is out the window.