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CHEVY OR CHEVROLET: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Jun 11, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

1978 Chevrolet Corvette

1978 Chevrolet Corvette By Chuck Dapoz, Editor-at-Large The banter over Chevrolet using its Chevy nickname is much ado about nothing (see "Drove my Chevrolet to the levy, but the levy was dry"). A personal insight: In the late '70s, I lived in Detroit and worked for Sandy Corporation. Chevrolet was Sandy's largest client and the only client I worked on. Every day I interacted with Chevy employees and dealers. I might as well have been a Chevrolet employee. At the time, General Motors used a style guide that dictated spelling and word use for ads, scripts, news releases, memos ... everything. For example, employe was spelled with one e at the end. Among the rules: Chevrolet was always referred to as Chevrolet (never Chevy) and was never hyphenated. A lot of companies use similar style guides, which prescribe, among other things, how logos are used, including specifications for its exact pantone colors. I have no idea if a similar style guide is still used at GM. With all of the turmoil at the company over the last year, including churning of ad agencies and other suppliers, conventions might have been forgotten or applied unevenly. The pundits would criticize a company if it didn’t follow standards. Imagine hearing Hyundai itself inconsistently pronounced its name as Hun-DAY, Hun-DIE and He-YUN-die. There’s nothing wrong with consistency. It can be good for a vehicle brand to display consistent design cues: a BMW looks like a BMW. And it can be good to apply consistent marketing standards: you may know a TV commercial is for Lexus or Honda before seeing or hearing the brand name. It's not bad that Chevrolet refers to itself as Chevrolet. Think of Chevy as slang for Chevrolet: okay to use in casual conversation, and okay for the public to use, but you don’t use it in formal communications. What's the big deal? It’s commonplace to send a memo to get all of your troops to do something. It happens every day. For reasons I don’t understand, the Chevy memo gets picked up by a reporter, and all heck breaks loose. It’s a slow news day when a story like this runs. It’s a super-slow news day when it generates so much buzz.

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