Road Noise: Because We Said So, That's Why!


Another day, another mess of press releases clogging the inbox here at Vehicle Voice World Internet Headquarters and Half-Price Seafood Buffet.
Let’s see…Corporate community outreach: I’ll pass. Buy 14 tires, get the 15th free: To the Recycle Bin! Exciting new car air freshener: This isn’t news.
Oooh, here’s one: “GM launches new site to clarify misconceptions about the company.” Sounds like fun; let’s roll.

This is gonna be like Mythbusters, but without the explosions or the entertainment.

Okay, while you were navigating the jump, I went ahead and checked out GM’s little myth blog. Here are the scores: A for concept, C for execution, D- for effort.
Allow me to explain.
These are scary economic times. People hear rumors about giant industries going kerflooie, and they want to be reassured. So GM sets up this site, thinking people will be refreshed by their upfront honesty and willingness to go face-to-face with the public on tender issues such as the company’s responsiveness and nasty rumors such as the existence or nonexistence of the Chevy Volt.
It’s a good idea, but this isn’t the way to pull it off. Which leads me to…
A lot of the topics addressed on the site are questions I hear pretty often. The problem is, they’re questions about the auto industry in general. The writer behind GM Facts and Fiction has populated the site with these queries and made them GM-specific.
* GM is not actively pursuing energy-saving technologies
* GM didn’t anticipate the demand for fuel-efficient cars
* GM still doesn’t make cars that people want to buy

These are all accusations that have been levied against the entire domestic auto industry; it’s mystifying why GM would want to focus these industry-wide complaints upon itself. The place to address these concerns is on an independent site or a site maintained by a consortium of U.S. automakers. As it stands, GM is taking unnecessary heat here – and it’s taking it voluntarily.
GM Facts and Fictions is meant to educate, and GM passes up a lot of opportunities to do just that in favor of saying, “Because we said so.”
For example, one of the most pertinent GM-specific “myths” on the site claims “The Volt is vaporware.” Instead of saying “You heard wrong!” and posting a video of an actual Volt moving under its own power, like so:

Hey, it’s real!

the site just says, in essence, “Trust us, it’s real.”
Well, I’m convinced.
There’s more. When a myth says “GM didn’t anticipate the growing demand for fuel efficient cars,” that’s an excellent chance to say, “Well, no one expected to rise as sharply as it did. Here’s why.” And then there’s your chance to say a little about product cycles and why it takes so long to switch from an SUV juggernaut to a compact-and-crossover juggernaut.
Instead, GM Facts and Fictions says, in part, “The very rapid shift from trucks to cars that occurred when fuel prices spiked this spring has forced all carmakers to adapt. With its current and future product lineup, GM is well positioned to take advantage of growing demand for fuel efficient vehicles.”
In other words, “Nuh-uh. We did so anticipate the growing demand for fuel-efficient cars!”
Oh. All right, then.

Posted in: GM, Road Noise

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