Chevrolet has asked employees to stop use of the nickname "Chevy", as part of a company plan to present "a consistent brand message to potential customers."
A General Motors memo leaked to the New York Times revealed: "We'd ask that whether you're talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward.
“When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding. Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.”
The document was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the GM division's vice president for marketing.
The company subsequently responded to the ensuing “emotional debate” by saying in an official statement there was no intent to discourage customers' use of the popular abbreviation, saying the memo was poorly worded.
Chevy is one of the most famous nicknames in industry, and the company itself making extensive use of the moniker in its advertising and promotions campaigns. Nor did the memo acknowledge that Coke is, in fact, a nickname for Coca-Cola, or that Apple tends to promote its products rather than itself as a brand name.