AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Tesla’s Model S sedan scored an unprecedented “99 out of 100″ from Consumer Reports last year, but the glowing endorsement from this influential publication could turn out to be short lived. Sources indicate the reliability of this car may have taken a slide.
Customer experience can dictate whether or not a consumer returns to a certain brand, and car dealerships are on the front lines when it comes to delivering an enjoyable experience.
Given the growth in social networking via Facebook; even automakers are now looking to change the way they provide customer service.
Nissan, which currently boasts more than 279,000 followers on its Facebook page and, according to Erich Marx, the company’s Director of Marketing and Communications, experienced faster growth in social media than any other OE automaker during the first half of 2011, is looking at taking a more pro-active approach in dealing with customer complaints, which might very well mean replacing traditional phone based customer service, with social media.
“There will be a day when people will go to Facebook as a preferred method,” he says. “We are already seeing that number doubling every quarter.” He also went on to add, that ”based on what I’ve seen in 90 days, I realize that this is something we are going to have to deal with in the future. As opposed to operators or help desks just waiting for a customer to complain, we need to have a Facebook presence to solve issues before they get bigger, and take a more pro-active role in identifying consumer issues or question.”
When the change will happen, remains to be seen, for now Nissan will continue to use operators at 1-800 numbers to deal with customer complaints, though, given the public nature of Facebook and a need to deal with issues as soon as possible, a year or five years from now the scenario could be very different.
Those who snapped up an all-wheel-drive Nissan Juke might not know that they’re driving around with a smaller gas tank than advertised. Outrageous! But wait, there’s more—Nissan is throwing in money too, just to make up for it.
Turns out, the AWD model’s gas tank is slightly smaller at 11.8 gallons, when it had originally been advertised as being 13.2 gallons—the same as the front-wheel-drive Juke. Stop the presses, you say? Nissan did not let this travesty go by, and instead notified owners of a “problem” they might not even have noticed in the first place—as well as giving them a fat check to compensate.
Approximately 4,000 owners were notified of the problem in April, but are now set to receive a $400 check to cover Nissan’s mistake. Nissan is doing so to hold their end of the bargain and retain customers: the outraged masses will also have the option for Nissan to buy back their Juke if they’re truly angry enough. In total, Nissan is laying out $1.6 million to impress these 4,000 owners—a move that will surely be worth its weight in gold when it comes to the positive publicity.
However, there’s still no word on whether the $400 incentive is enough to cover the fact that they’re driving what looks like a steroided bullfrog.
One member of the Audizine forums recently got a surprise when the president of Audi USA loaned him an S4 for him to use while he waited for his ordered S4 to be built.
Forum member DATZ ordered a 2011 Audi S4 on December 9th, 2010, in Daytona Gray. He knew that it would take the factory a while to prepare this exclusive color, but when the build date got pushed back to February, then to March, then to May—meaning a delivery date of late July, 7 months after the order—he knew something was up.
“I decided to vent by writing a letter to various VAG and Audi executives, including the CEO/Chairman of VW, Audi’s President of Production, and the President of Audi USA,” he wrote, “not quite as therapeutic as firebombing the dealership, but letter writing involves considerably less jail time.”
To his surprise, Johan de Nyschen, the president of Audi USA, called back. He explained to DATZ about Audi’s part shortages, the high demand that the S4 carries, and the fact that an 8-month delay, even despite Audi’s struggles to meet consumer demand. And then Nyschen said what every car enthusiast wants to hear from a higher-up at a car company (or at the DMV): he’d agree to pull some strings. He personally called the German factory, bumped the build date to April (for a June delivery), and agreed to lend DATZ a 2011 S4 for him to use until the delivery.
The car shown above is his loaner: a Phantom Black model, with DSG and the Titanium package, which was formerly beaten on by auto journos for 5,000 miles—and is a better deal than what the poster’s dealer could muster, which were a few panicked calls for a free extended warranty. “If you take the right tact with the right people, they may respond 1,000 times beyond expectations,” he wrote. “Not a bad move on their part to build some customer loyalty!”