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Technology Doesn’t Stop with Toyota

04/22/2010

Reprinted from my blog at the Huffington Post

I have discovered that I’m basically driving a laptop. The Toyota Prius that I own and love(d) – primarily because of the car pool lane sticker that keeps me sane on the LA freeways – is so technologically advanced that problems with acceleration are hard-pressed to be duplicated.

Ask any software engineer – or better yet – just observe your own computer experiences. There are technical glitches all the time. Emails lost in cyberspace. Frozen screens. Menus that mysteriously pop-up. Replicate the problems you experience; probably can’t. Sometimes technology glitches just happen.

Easy to say when you are typing on your laptop. Difficult to affirm when you are driving your car and you can’t stop. Impossible to accept when the number one automaker in the world tells you it’s a problem with your floor mat.

Savvy executives and public relations professionals understand that technology advances make information transparent and increase the importance of maintaining corporate reputations. Problems or issues that might have been explained away in the past tend to resurface, with increasing vigor, until the public is satisfied with the information they have been provided.  The longer it takes to satisfy the public, the harder it will be to re-establish a corporate reputation.

The reputation ‘bar’ is much higher for auto manufacturers than most consumer goods companies. Lives are, literally, at stake. Perhaps it’s time for auto manufacturers to respect their customers and for customers to better understand the power of their purse.

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