Commentary: Four Seconds of Summer

What have we learned this summer?

We certainly learned a lot. If one thing that can be measured is how much the news that is reserved for magazines and newspapers can be quickly transmitted through social media. How Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have become the primary channels of enthusiasm.

As much as we love and hate social media, one can truly measure the impact of a news story by quick impressions and immediate responses. That is how you either won or lost the day. You also gauged their interest in terms of stirring up business for paying customers.

This is how we are seeing the automotive industry today. Engagement through instant provocation. But, is this how you should market your future – or, your past and present?

Let’s take a look at the biggest headlines this summer to see whether social media has done a better job at connecting the industry with potential customers and their fans alike. Or, rather, anything car-related…

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE C8 CORVETTE: The biggest summer blockbuster reveal was the long-awaited mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette. The fans waited eagerly until July 18 when the curtain was pulled back on a car that was first considered in the 1960s. Then, social media went stark raving insane. The retweets and reposts were absolutely massive. Even as V&R’s social media posted the photos of the C8, we had a huge traffic jump because of it.

The part where things are going to get interesting is the lull in time between July 18’s reveal and the arrival of the first production and sellable C8 at Chevrolet showrooms. This a long wait to try to continue to maintain interest in the most important Corvette in General Motors’ history. As long as the sold out first-year production is delivered to their customers – and not used as a showroom furnishing for a late model year sale – then, this exercise was proven to be a smart move for this company.

AUDI CAN NOW SELL A FANBOY CAR: The debut of the 2020 RS 6 Avant was heralded as a social media victory, thanks to its fans. For years, we have heard from enthusiasts that American consumers can’t have nice things – such as they do in Europe and other parts of the world. This was one of them – an Audi Sport version of the A6 station wagon, also known as the Avant.

This may not have been much of a surprise, as Audi of America has been exploring the expansion of its Audi Sport offerings to its enthusiast customers. By emphasizing the sub-brand’s equity, the RS 6 Avant is now a commodity that will arrive at select showrooms to the delight of those who want such a vehicle. Will they become duly rewarded? Only if the model year’s allocation is sold out.

ONCE THE TEASING IS OVER… Let’s talk about the 2021 Porsche Taycan for a moment. The numbers are already insane: an 800-volt electrical architecture, high performance electrical motors, a range that may fall short of most Tesla Model S versions, and a very high ticket price for entry into this car. In all, the Porsche Taycan was introduced with an emphasis on Porsche’s sports car heritage than being a mobility solution.

But, no one can stop with the obvious comparisons without understanding the differences between the Taycan and the Model S. This is not a question of price, but of intention. This is why social media wants an ultimate showdown between the two – to see which intention is better. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Once we get past the fact that the Tesla and Porsche are not playing on the same level field, then we can understand why Porsche developed the Taycan as a four-door 911-ish, sports car-ish electric vehicle.

And, please stop with the hating on the naming convention of the trim levels. Leave Porsche alone on this point, will you?

KHART4REAL? On September 1, comedian/actor Kevin Hart’s modified 1970 Plymouth Barracuda crashed into a ditch near Malibu, California. Hart was in the passenger seat, in which a friend was driving. Both men were transported to separate Southern California hospitals due to major back injuries. A third passenger refused medical assistance on the scene.

The images from the scene showed something worse than what was reported. Luckily for Hart and his friend, they were carried off alive. Despite their injuries, they were lucky. For Hart, he was reported with some improvement in his condition, including reports of Hart walking. Thanks to social media, we can see the love and respect for Hart from his peers in the entertainment business, as they hope for a speedy recovery for him.

This accident couldn’t have come at an apt time – during Labor Day weekend. No matter the time of year, safety is a priority. Just be careful behind the wheel.

Photo courtesy of Audi of America

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