That was the slogan for Chevy trucks back in the day, remember? The TV commercials were a pastiche of grease-smeared men, toolboxes, cement foundries, and silver-grilled trucks bounding through mud and over dunes. They glamourized a Springsteenesque, hard-times vision of America: Even if the fields are dusty—they seemed to say—and the government's on the take, and the water pump don't work, there will always be tough men—and tough tough Chevy trucks.
Well, as we reported earlier, actual hard times are now upon General Motors, the makers of Chevrolet, and one reason is those manly trucks. People aren't buying them. With the price of gas as high as it is—at the time of writing, close to $1.50 a litre in the Lower Mainland—people have been doing the unthinkable: getting into "girly" hybrid and electric vehicles in a big way.
GM produced this early electric car, the EV1, between 1996 and 1999. Since then, though, the company hasn't done much, and this is probably the biggest reason it's now ceded to Toyota the title of Biggest Automaker in the World .
So Toyota should be feeling pumped up, shouldn't it? You wouldn't know it by their signs. They have a Total Relief Event on right now (I took the photo at left the other day at a dealership on Lougheed Highway), and the images, as I'm sure you'll agree, are droopy. If selling cars is always going to have something to do with male sexual vigor—and, really, isn't that why seeing a rakish George Clooney next to the cute-as-a-bug Tango just seems weird?—shouldn't Toyota's messaging be a bit more, I don't know, potent?
These are hard questions. Come on, Toyota: you guys are Number One now. Enough of this defeatism. I'm going to help you think of a new slogan. Scratch the whole Total Relief Event idea: it has an air of desperation about it, even if you leave aside all the icky, massage-parlour associations. Obviously, Like a Rock is unavailable for copyright reasons, and, besides, it doesn't really pair with the deflation and relief motif you're pushing. Hmmm, let's think.
Any ideas, faithful Granville readers? We really should give Toyota a hand.