UPDATE- Well turns out GM was not going to stay silent. Phil Colley and crew have been hard at work tweeting out responses to the naysayers, trying to explain and defend while standing the ground they laid from the beginning. The point is GM is facing the social media storm and trying to respond before the situation spirals completely out of control and reaches the wider Web
Hey did you hear? The media are driving the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Volt today! If you are on Twitter and follow anyone that talks about cars, you probably know where this is going. GM suddenly has a PR nightmare on their hands. Worse, it's on social media and is spreading like the oil in the gulf.
GM originally stated many times (as late as this past June) that the Volt's wheels would never be powered by the internal combustion engine. Rather the gasoline engine would act as a generator to pass power along to the battery pack which then powers the electric motor. Basically the actual gas engine was supposedly not going to be connected to the drive wheels.
Well hey, surprise! Today we found out that in fact the gas engine is connected to the drive wheels. We will not get into details in this post about how it works and all that jazz. I'm going to focus on this PR nightmare and how it is spreading.
All the people in the auto industry are tweeting about this. Some are posting to Facebook while others are just keeping quiet. Many are actually debating this whole thing on Twitter publicly. People that do not tweet or care about cars are seeing these tweets fly across their screens. Heck this could become a trending topic.
How is GM going to handle this nightmare? So far they have remained pretty quiet on the situation. Some blogs have taken it upon themselves to create polls while others have just blatantly written posts about how GM lied to us all. One has to wonder if GM thought this wouldn't be a big deal.
Personally I will not get into this debate about whether GM lied or did not lie. The thing that is clear to me is that social media has helped this spread and given people the ability to debate the topic publicly. At some level I am hoping GM will step up and address this publicly whether on social media or not.