Tuesday, November 27, 2012
For those who don't follow the auto press, this is the leading edge of auto PR -- operating data on your vehicle that you can access anytime anywhere. General Motors has long been in the lead with its OnStar technology that links each car to a call center and which sends an automatic emergency signal if an airbag deploys. Now, with the Chevy Volt, one can see how one is doing against other Volt owners. It is an auto version of baseball stats. Only 1,800 Volt owners are doing it, but it is sure to grow. More than that, GM downloads hundreds of thousands of data points daily to check on its vehicles and their sub-systems. It is PR at its most fundamental. PR, in other words, has moved to the engineering and IT departments. Practitioners should cheer. PR has long contended that is an integral part of organizations, and nothing is closer to the customer than checking his car all day every day. For those worried about privacy, GM has answered that with its new application interface. So now, if you want to get into a miles-per-gallon competition with someone living five states away, you can, and you can be assured your auto's maintenance is being watched at the same time.