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McClatchy-Tribune  07/30/2014 11:11 PM ET
GM plans big advertising push to promote 4G cars [Detroit Free Press :: ]

July 30--General Motors plans to introduce a widespread advertising campaign this fall to promote the high-speed Internet capability it will offer in more than 30 vehicles in the 2015 model year.

"You'll see a big push in the coming months," Tim Mahoney, chief global marketing officer for Chevrolet, said today at an Adcraft Club of Detroit luncheon.

Recently GM began selling two Chevys with AT&T's 4G LTE connectivity -- the Chevrolet Malibu and Chevrolet Impala sedans -- before a wider rollout later this year.

-- Mark Phelan: Lab rolls out ideas for future vehicles

The technology gives GM a marketing edge on its competitors because the company is the only automaker to offer high-speed Internet subscriptions across most of its product lineup.

"Our research tells us consumers want this to be part of their experience," Mahoney said. "Based on the early take rates, (I'm) pretty impressed in terms of people wanting this technology."

Mahoney said GM expects to have a 12- to 18-month head start on competitors before they integrate similar high-speed Internet services into their vehicles.

GM's service ranges from $5 per month to $50 per month, with onetime data packages available up to $200 per year.

The company is offering three-month free trial subscriptions to new-car buyers.

Mahoney said about 99% of customers are activating the free trial.

Separately, Mahoney also said Chevrolet's biggest market will be China within nine years, passing the U.S. The brand has been consistently trailing GM's overall growth rate, posting a 4% increase for the first half of 2014.

"You're talking about a culture that's millennia old and we're entering our 10th year there," he said. "We are still in the phase of building awareness over there."

Contact Nathan Bomey: 313-223-4743 or Follow him on Twitter @NathanBomey.


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