GM Launches 'Free Enterprise' Public Relations Tour
General Motors launched a cross country campaign with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday promoting “free enterprise.” GM will provide a 2013 Chevy Traverse for two “Tour Guides,” writer Joe Epstein and Huffington Post reporter Nate Hindman, to travel to over 15 cities accross the United States.
The tour appears to be an attempt by GM to resurrect its image with Americans disappointed by the company’s close financial relationship with the government. However, the company has a long way to travel before potential buyers cease calling the auto maker "Government Motors." The first bump in the road seems to be the launch of the tour itself.
GM is still partly owned by the federal government after being bailed out in 2009 and has multiple joint ventures with the Chinese communist government. Regardless, the Chamber of Commerce is touting why it believes GM is a top-notch “free enterprise” entity.
“GM, a great American company and employer, is committed to the same principles we will celebrate with the ‘On the Road with Free Enterprise’ tour,” said Tom Collamore, senior vice president of Communications and Strategy at the Chamber of Commerce. The tour, according to the Chamber, is “a two-month cross-country road trip to tell the story of free enterprise and what it means to the American economy.”
The Chamber of Commerce represents numerous large-scale private sector businesses, including GM. However, as pointed out in the Washington Examiner, the Chamber also lobbies the federal government for subsidies on behalf of its member businesses.
Hindman, one of the tour guides, is a reporter for HuffPo's small business vertical. It should be noted that Cadillac is also the naming sponsor of HuffPost Live, while the co-sponsor for the tour is T-Mobile, a telecom company that has been actively lobbying for the FCC to rig the spectrum auctions in T-Mobile's favor.
The tour guides are scheduled to visit small businesses and participate in local events as well as make stops at famous landmarks. The tour kicked off at Nationals Park Wednesday night immediately preceding a Major League Baseball game. The park itself was built with a $534.8 million subsidy from the DC government and is owned by the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, "A component unit of the District of Columbia government."
Finally, after failing to convince American drivers that the “environmentally friendly” Volt was worth the investment, Chevy has turned to promote a vehicle that gets gets 17 MPG city/24 highway. Kelly’s Blue Book ranked the Traverse #26 out of 33 for its miles-per-gallon ranking. Consumer Reports showed the new Chevy car got only 16 MPG.
Collamore, however, is confident about the Traverse, saying in a statement, “We can think of no better vehicle partner for this exploration of American free enterprise and the people and businesses working to create jobs and help grow the economy.”