Video: GM puts brakes on drive to phase out 'Chevy'

  1. Transcript of: GM puts brakes on drive to phase out 'Chevy'

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Our final story here tonight comes from corporate America . It involves a brand name often considered synonymous with America , Chevy . A few executives at Chevrolet wrote a memo. They briefly thought it would be a good idea to, quote, "communicate our brand as Chevrolet going forward." Well, what about those of us who own what we like to call a Chevy ? What about one of the great names in the car business? That idea didn't last long, it turns out. The story from NBC 's Kevin Tibbles .

    KEVIN TIBBLES reporting: If Harrison Ford 's driving it, it's got to be an American icon. Hey, Dinah Shore even sang about it.

    TIBBLES: But when Don McLean went to the levee...

    Mr. DON McLEAN: Drove my Chevy to the levee...

    TIBBLES: ...he drove his Chevy , not his Chevrolet . It was a generational thing. Cool dads drove a Chevy Impala . Hot shots had a ' 57 Chevy , or a Chevy Nova . I wanted one. So news General Motors employees were being told to stop using the word Chevy came as a bit of a shock.

    Ms. LAURA RIES (Marketing Analyst): And everyone went, what? What are they doing? GM got a lot of calls. People were going nuts.

    Unidentified Man: Chevrolet .

    TIBBLES: Sweet! In today's papers, Chevrolet 's own ads were using the word Chevy . In a statement General Motors explains it's all a misunderstanding due to a poorly worded memo. "We love Chevy . In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name," it says.

    TIBBLES: Once upon a time , Coke tried to fiddle with the tried and true. That didn't last too long, either. John Kurtz loves his Chevys and loves his 'vette.

    Mr. JOHN KURTZ: It's part of the fabric of the United States .

    TIBBLES: Should they change it?

    Mr. KURTZ: They can't change it.

    TIBBLES: So what's in a name?

    Unidentified Woman: It'll be Chevy for my lifetime.

    TIBBLES: Now there's some old-fashioned America brand loyalty for you.

    Offscreen Voice: That's baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet .

    TIBBLES: Make that Chevy . Kevin Tibbles , NBC News , Chicago .

    WILLIAMS: Appropriate story, too, because Kevin Tibbles , the best Canadian import since Molson Golden , became an American citizen today. Congratulations, Kevin . Welcome.

By
updated 6/10/2010 7:24:37 PM ET 2010-06-10T23:24:37

Turns out you can take your 'Chevy to the levee' or any other darn place you please.

General Motors Co. on Thursday backed off a "poorly worded" internal memo that asked employees to refer to the brand only as "Chevrolet" in an effort to create consistency.

GM says in a statement that it "in no way" is discouraging anybody from using the name Chevy. The internal memo was part of an effort to develop a consistent brand name as it tries to broaden its global presence.

There have been many pop culture references to Chevys. Perhaps the best known is in Don McLean's "American Pie." Its signature sing-along chorus begins, "Bye bye, Miss American pie, drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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