One longtime criticism of automakers is that new car designs sometimes have little to do with what consumers actually want in a vehicle. In the last two weeks, two major carmakers are answering that criticism and turning to social media tools in the process.
G.M. declares, "We want your opinion" with its launch of the Lab, which is available online and through an iPhone app. It's a spot where consumers can see ideas on the drawing board and offer thoughts.
Dave Rand, the outgoing head of global advanced design at G.M., summed it up for the New York Times:
"We are showing things we’d never shown before and learning how people react. This is valuable because it gives us something we do not get from traditional market research or auto shows."
It also brings a once highly secretive design process into the light of day.
Audi is also going to the social masses via Facebook with its Audi Design Challenge, which is all about what cars should be like in the future. They're bringing their 325,000+ fans into the design process and asking for feedback along the way. With any luck, maybe Audi will bring us back a car that Tweets or Facebooks for us.