Fighting for the Socket
Chevy Bolt at the end of this year and Tesla begins selling the Model 3 in 2017. GM showed off the Bolt in January, and Tesla unveiled the Model 3 on March 31.
GM is positioning the Bolt to sell to the masses, which will help the company meet regulatory targets for required zero-emission vehicle sales, and to highlight technology GM developed with its first electric car, the EV1, introduced in 1996. When GM stopped EV1 production in 2002, Toyota became the darling of green-friendly buyers with its Prius hybrid. Tesla, meanwhile, is looking to the Model 3 to prove it can sell battery-powered cars to a mass market and turn a profit.
Both cars will start at $30,000— or less after federal tax credits of $7,500 are applied. And both go at least 200 miles on a fully charged battery. The Bolt is a five-passenger hatchback that boasts cargo space and more legroom for rear passengers—frontseat backs are an inch thinner than in most cars. Tesla has kept details under wraps, but the Model 3 is expected to be about the size of a BMW 3 Series.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, describing the Bolt’s virtues, said, “Bolt customers won’t have to drive to another state to buy, service, or support their vehicle.” Tesla owners outside California must sometimes travel long distances for maintenance and repairs; the company has fewer than 100 stores nationwide, while Chevy has 3,000 dealers.
In February, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he welcomes the Bolt to the market, but doesn’t see it as a rival. “You should think of the Model 3 as sort of really competing in kind of the BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 market,” he said. Musk has successfully targeted luxury brands such as Audi, BMW, and even Porsche with the Model S, Tesla’s first full- size EV, which hit U. S. streets in 2012. It now starts at about $75,000 and can go well beyond $100,000.
Chevy will market the Bolt on its value and practical features. “Frivolous gadgets” won’t cut it, says Darin Gesse, marketing manager for electrified vehicles at GM. Are the falcon-wing doors on the Tesla Model X frivolous? “They’re in that neighborhood,” he says. Musk has said that the doors aren’t just for show; opening upward, they make it easier to get in and out of the car.
Tesla first pushed its cars as sporty and unique, and then as electric and green, says Alexander Edwards, president of San Diego marketing consultant Strategic Vision. That’s why sales have increased even as cheap fuel has battered hybrid-electric cars like the Prius. Despite the companies’ different marketing approaches, Edwards says, the 8 percent of new-car buyers interested in an electric car will look at both the Tesla and the Chevy models. brand operates outside the U. S. In Asia, where consumers place a premium on allnatural, gentle- onthe- skin beauty products, Burt’s Bees has great appeal. “They’re using less chemicals than some of the local brands here,” says Lee Jee Ha, who shops for her Burt’s Bees favorites, especially its baby oil, at any of several Seoul branches of South Korea’s Olive Young drugstore chain. Burt’s Bees is also found in upscale department stores such as the U.K.’S John Lewis and some drugstore chains in London. At a time when large consumerproducts companies are struggling with sluggish sales, Burt’s Bees and the premium prices it commands overseas represent growth potential for Clorox. “This is a very profitable business internationally,” says Chief Executive Officer Benno Dorer. The company, best known for its bleach and Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing, bought the small, Maine-based maker of lip balms and honey-infused creams and cosmetics for $925 million in 2007. At the time, the line was sold in five countries outside the U. S.; now it’s in more than 40. It entered half of those markets in the last three years, Dorer says. The newest international
U.S. sales of plug-in electric vehicles*
30k The bottom line GM and Tesla have a lot riding on the release of their newest EVS, as both companies go after the middle market. Burt’s Bees fetches higher prices abroad Rosewater toner In the U.S. → In Korea Peach & willow bark deep pore scrub U.S. → Hong Kong Baby Bee bubble bath U.S. U.K.