Despite the rant we posted yesterday from Lori Green of GM, it appears that Detroit car manufacturers are slowly beginning to take actual measure of criticism directed at them. The Tennessean has an article up detailing how Detroit automobile companies are learning that they ignore bloggers’ criticisms at their peril.
As Detroit’s automakers struggle to keep market share and make money, a new breed of watchdogs is emerging on the Internet. They post regular columns on Web sites and send out e-mail newsletters providing blunt, and often colorful, analysis of the auto industry.
They blast corporate strategy, single out top-level executives for failed projects and provide their own thoughts on what the automakers should do to turn things around. Several sites have developed a loyal following with thousands of regular visitors.
Whether the companies like them or not, the Internet sites are increasingly pushing information to the public, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. They quickly circulate news and ideas about the auto companies.
Later on an executive complains that these blogs tend to be “mean-spirited”, which seems to be industry code speak for blunt criticism. If someone pays 30 grand for a car and doesn’t feel they got what they paid for, it’s perfectly valid to be mean-spirited about it. It’s good, at least, the industry is starting to take notice, even if the way they try to harness is questionable, like the recent Edelmann/Walmart blog scandal.