If you want to find out whatâ€™s going on with Opel and Vauxhall â€“ two of the most well-known brand names in the car industry, owned by General Motors â€“ take a look at GM in Europe Facts and Fiction, a new website launched yesterday by GM Europe.
According to GM Europeâ€™s press release, the new site challenges the more commonly-reported misconceptions about Opel and Vauxhall and addresses each one with the pertinent facts.
[â€¦] The site is a resource for the media, for bloggers and anyone who reports our news. It is also for employees, suppliers, dealers and anyone who has an interest in our business in Europe. The aim of the site is to provide all of our stakeholders with access to the facts. gmeuropefactsandfiction.com allows sharing and social bookmarking of the content and encourages visitors to join the discussion at DrivingConversations.com, the GM Europe Executive blog.
That last sentence is interesting as the site doesnâ€™t allow commenting nor trackbacks. Itâ€™s a clever move by GM Europe â€“ encourage comment and opinion from people but in an existing venue on the web, the GM Europe executive blog, that the company has already established as a place for conversations.
The site is similar in structure and concept to GM Facts and Fiction, a site GM in the USA launched last September to make a distinction between the facts and rumours surrounding the company. That site also doesn’t enable commenting nor trackbacks.
At that time, Christopher Barger, GMâ€™s Director of Global Communications Technology based at the US headquarters, said that the site is intended as an information resource and not as an interactive experience, for reasons like this:
[â€¦] We are often confronted with people who willfully choose to perpetuate smears, urban legends or false rumors about us, due to various biases (dislike of our industry in general, antagonism toward our leaders or about the fact that our workers are unionized, coastal biases that like to paint any midwestern business as lumbering or clueless, beefs about vehicles they owned 25 years ago, or any number of others). Iâ€™m not talking about people who just donâ€™t see things the same as us; Iâ€™m talking about people who simply do not want to hear any fact or truth that conflicts with what they want to believe. One cannot have dialogue with someone who wants not to converse but to insist.
(That comment from Christopher comes from a discussion about GMâ€™s approach to engaging with critics, worth reading in its entirety.)
I could well understand if similar reasons influenced GM Europe with the Opel/Vauxhall site, especially in light of the current recession and the seemingly-constant critical media reporting about the two European brands.
It will be interesting to see reaction to GM Europeâ€™s site especially from motoring journalists and the broad motoring press. Some influential opinion-formers in the social media space focused on the auto industry have reported on the new website.
Little yet by way of opinion about it.