Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand has used its local Web site to help effect an embarrassing global product recall.
The recall of several models - which arose as the result of 10 separate problems - required the company to contact every Mitsubishi owner in the country, so Mitsubishi added the relevant information to its Web site, www.mitsubishi-motors.co.nz.
Last week Mitsubishi admitted it had systematically concealed customer complaints about tens of thousands of defective vehicles since 1977, according to the New York Times. The company recalled 88,000 cars and trucks, adding to a recall of 532,000 vehicles announced last month.
Car owners wanting to know if their vehicle is involved can download a five-page document that guides them through the recall process, from locating the chassis number to contacting a dealer. Woodley says the response to the site has been very positive, but he has no figures on the number of users because that facility has yet to be enabled.
“Yes, it would be good to have had it all go before the recall, but there you go.”
Mitsubishi's use of the Internet for the recall is only the tip of the iceberg as far as its online presence goes.
“This is only phase one — we’re looking to extend all this to make it far more interactive so people can book their car in for a service or book a test drive, that sort of thing,” says director of finance Murray Woodley.
And while most buyers wouldn’t purchase a car directly from a Web site, Woodley says there are buyers out there who will.
“We do have some fleet buyers who don’t need to sit in every single car they buy — for these buyers we will be offering secure pages open only to select customers and they will be able to order the vehicles through the site.”
Mitsubishi dealers are also getting in on the act — Mitsubishi helps them set up a site that embodies the Mitsubishi branding and look and feel and runs it for them.
“It is important that we’re online — it’s another medium for information as well as for advertising.”
Mitsubishi will also link all its dealerships into one network which will be able to share information at a much lower level.
“We’ll put up the parts manual so each dealership can see what’s available and where it is and order it directly.”
At the moment each dealer has a hard-copy book which can go out of date as parts change.
The Mitsubishi site has been built around a Jade platform — something Woodley says gives the development team a great deal of flexibility.
“We’ve gone full circle from running everything on mainframes in house to outsourcing it all and now we’ve got it all back again on the desktop.”
Jade has been a major component of that move, according to Woodley.