Lately I’ve been reading and thinking about the role of emotion in buying decisions. Then I read a review of the Chevy Volt.
The reviewer is one Mark Richardson, who edits the automotive section of my newspaper. He is not a Volt fan. Would the road test change his mind? Richardson devotes the first 15 paragraphs to how the Volt makes him feel. Here’s a taste:
- “it doesn’t deserve the hype”
- “it’s expensive”
- “its claimed fuel consumption is a hopeless distortion of the facts”
- “its won awards it doesn’t deserve… from sycophantic ‘auto journalists’ who’ve never even turned a proper wheel in it”
- government rebates to buy plug-in cars are “a bribe.”
Pretty harsh, and typical of how the majority of consumers feel. Wave a green flag in front of them and you fan these hot coals of contempt into flame.
These views put Richardson in the heart of the Late Majority segment of car buyers. So total cost of ownership (TCO) should loom large in his thinking. Richardson writes 5 paragraphs to calculate the total cost of ownership. He’s excited when the Volt’s TCO is less than its all-gas sibling, the Cruze. But he’s still not convinced.
Like a Late Majority type Richardson demands performance too. Listen to how Richardson describes driving the Volt:
- “There’s no compromise”
- “It’s peppy if you want it to be.”
- Recharging the battery during braking “is not so obvious that it’s a distraction”
- Unlike all-electric cars, driving the Volt gave him no “range anxiety… you can drive the Volt as an electric commuter all week and then up to the cottage on weekends. If you forget to plug it in, no big deal.”
- Richardson was “astonished at the unobtrusive capability” of the Volt
Did spending time in a Volt make Richardson change his mind? Yes. The Volt is his candidate for Car of the Year. Anybody who markets products with a green dimension needs a personna in their library based on Mark Richardson.