General Motors Co has banned the use of the popular Chevy nickname for its flagship Chevrolet brand internally but would more than welcome if a customer calls his or her car Chevy.

We love Chevy. In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name, GM said in a statement on Thursday.

The automaker was responding to controversy surrounding an internal memo that urged GM employees to drop the use of Chevy and communicate its best-selling brand only as Chevrolet to maintain the consistency of its branding.

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, GM said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.

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, the memo said.

GM on Thursday confirmed the memo and said the action was needed to maintain a consistent brand name for advertising and marketing purposes and to establish a significant presence for Chevrolet in global markets.

But it's OK if you still call your car a Chevy, GM added.

We hope people around the world will continue to fall in love with Chevrolets and smile when they call their favorite car, truck or crossover Chevy, GM said.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Bernard Orr)