It’s finally happened. A car manufacturer has seen the power and benefits of blogs. Not long ago, I wondered where all of the automotive blogs were, and why car companies — usually so far ahead in technology and advertising than the rest of us — were lagging woefully behind.
General Motors put that question to rest when it launched its FastLane Blog this January. Ostensibly written by Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman, the auto maker’s blog is a welcome addition to the blog world. My “ostensibly written” phrase is not meant so much as criticism as an understanding that Lutz is not likely sitting at his laptop pecking out entries. After all, once you become an important figure at what was once the largest multi-national corporation in the world, you have underlings to do the pecking for you.
Nonetheless, Lutz’s FastLane is the savviest move GM could make. Whether Lutz himself is putting the words online, it’s clear that Lutz is deeply involved in the blog, and that’s a great thing for consumers and GM alike. Management of big companies have been far too removed from people who actually use their products, and that fact has been nearly fatal to American auto makers. Marketing, surveys, and advertising can only provide so much benefit. As I said before, why don’t car companies let people tell them just what they like or dislike about car features or design ideas? As GM will rapidly find, a blog is the perfect medium for that exchange.
I have great expectations of FastLane and hope GM will use it to listen to the pulse of the people. So far, even critical comments to posts have been left on the blog as Jackie Danicki points out in Detroit Blog City, which bodes well for establishing a real dialogue. Lutz and crew also linked to other automotive sources and blogs, one of which is AutoMuse, under the “Blogs We Like” section.
With GM leading the way, I will be brushing up on my German in preparation for BMW, Audi, VW, and Mercedes-Benz.