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GM dumps Chevy for Chevrolet

by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors has banned the use of the Chevy name in all of its corporate communications. From now on, the bow-tie brand will go by its proper name, Chevrolet.

It's OK if you still call your car a Chevy. It's just that GM won't.

2010 Chevrolet Camaro (But you can still call it a Chevy, if you want.)

The problem, said Alan Batey, vice president of sales for Chevrolet in the U.S., is that in today's Internet-connected world, documents and Web sites created for an American audience can be read by anyone, anywhere. And the use of two different names for one car brand -- Chevy and Chevrolet -- can cause confusion abroad.

While Chevy is a popular nickname for the brand in the U.S. and Canada, it's not used in any of the other 130 or so countries where the brand is sold.

"I get calls from international colleagues asking me 'What is a Chevy," said German-born GM spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin. "It takes quite a long time to explain to them."

Customers in other countries who want to learn more about Chevrolet and come across the name Chevy on a U.S.-based Web site might think it refers to a separate brand, he said.

But Chevrolet isn't trying to shun its popular nickname, said Batey. GM still loves Chevy.

"[The nickname] says there's a rapport and a relationship with the brand," said Batey. "We love it when people call us Chevy."

The memo that was sent out to GM employees even asked them not to use the Chevy name in conversation, Batey said. However, the ban on speaking the two-syllable word won't be strictly enforced.

Existing advertising and corporate communications won't be changed, he added, but the rule will be enforced in any materials produced from here on out.

Founded in 1911 as the Chevrolet Motor Co., Chevrolet was named for founding partner Louis Chevrolet, an early race car driver.

As part of the company's push for global consistency, Batey added, more products -- such as the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze compact car -- will be sold globally using the same model name everywhere. Until now, the automaker often sold similar models under different names around the world.

"The brand is going to become an icon around the world," he said.

Since everyone already knows Chevrolet, Batey said, and everyone in the U.S. knows that it's Chevy, Americans shouldn't miss anything. To top of page

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