Social media can allow direct and faster access to a person, a group or discussion of an issue, and that has led to wide ranging players in the automotive world figuring out how to use it in order to improve performance. Dealers encourage customers to use sites like Google+ and DealerRater.com for reviews, automakers like Hyundai and Chrysler have someone dedicated to watching Twitter for complaints, and federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey forums and websites for hints about possible defects.

Said Hyundai Motor America's executive vice president of sales on using Twitter to speak to customers, "The function is the same: People have problems, and we take care of the problems." The company's interaction with Twitterers didn't exist a year ago, but things could progress to the point where Twitter forms part of the way that dealer satisfaction surveys are submitted by the automaker. There's work to do and knowledge to gain before that happens, but it's envisioned in the field of play.

Bodies like the NHTSA are said to "routinely search" the web "for information that might lead to an investigation." By going straight to the sources where car buyers are highlighting issues with their cars, the NHTSA has a line into early indicators of issues that might be defects, and it can begin to gather data or can supplement the data it already has. The other side of the equation: Law firms are taking note as well, with a university professor saying the increased and more public exposure of potential issues "could mean higher litigation."


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  • 16 Comments
      Mason
      • 1 Year Ago
      I know from personal experience that Ford replies to complaints on Twitter as well.
      Iain Fulton
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think its great that companies ( including car companies ) are tracking what people say on twitter, Facebook, etc...its a great way to alleviate problems before they become serious. I actually just applied with Hyundai to do this very thing....i find this process fascinating. Social Media carries some real weight nowadays.
      luigi.tony
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't think you had to tell anyone here at Autoblog that Hyundai has "people watching" this forum. It's obvious.
      KarmaFile
      • 1 Year Ago
      They still shy away from/are ignorant of good ol' forums, which are the real vessels for troubleshooting. You can wade through thousands of 140-character blurbs from people whining about their new car, or you can go to a forum and find out that there are 50 people reporting one specific problem, documented with a set of repeatable steps, and including the entire history of their interaction with local dealers and the manufacturer regarding said problem. Lemme know when they start caring about forums, so I can get my $1,100 back from Nissan for the steering lock recall they're covering up.
        UN4GTBL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @KarmaFile
        Every forum for a Chrysler product that I'm on has a representative there.
          Rich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @UN4GTBL
          They have 3 reps than: van, car, small car.
      rollie
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why doesn\'t Chrysler do something about the rust-out problems where road salt is used to combat icy roads? Here in upstate New York anything made by Chrysler or Dodge Ram rots out faster than anything else. I liked the looks more and could buy cheaper a new Ram, but got a Ford because I don\'t want holes in my truck before the payments are gone.
        Rich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rollie
        Its steel and salt, what do you expect?
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      scott3
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM has been doing this for a good while and I have seen them help many. Also I have found if you E mail many in GM they will respond fast. I had installed a GM Turbo Upgrade on my vehicle and had a problem with dropping boost. I thought a sensor may be hitting and e mailed the driveline engineer in charge of the program I saw in a news story. He responded in a matter of minutes and not only sent me notes and a diagram of what to adjust but also offered to let me have the dealer contact him if there was any issue. It was an odd issue and it was resolved very fast and easy. Also if you ever e mailed Bob Lutz he would respond. The answers are short but he did personally respond. I confirmed this with a GM marketing manager. He said he had no idea where Bob found the time but he did do it. Things like this put a real face on and better feeling from a large company.
      BRKF06
      • 1 Year Ago
      And yet every car doesn't come with an app? That's what makes no sense. Every car should have an iphone/android app. It can track everything the users do, give them info on their cars, be a manual with a google goggles like approach, give them info on nearby dealers, make appointments, etc. The manus are STUPID for not gathering so much easy data on their buyers. They could know where customers go, what they do, what they look up most often, what features confuse people,etc. And a this app should be linked to the car's twitter ID so the manu can quickly answer questions. Manus are seriously way behind the curve ball.
        Rich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BRKF06
        Why? So it'll save you those 36 seconds?
      Douglas Tompson
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=4213127969764&set=o.130961623701549&type=1&theater¬if_t=like
      boadacm
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is \"How social media ARE changing...\". Medium is singular. Media is plural. Someone in the business of writnig in the English language should learn it!
      Rich
      • 1 Year Ago
      If this is the way you monitor issues, you have ignored the problem for over a decade. If you base your business/existence on the internet, you deserve everything you get.
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