May 29, 2002
Mazda monitors online chat about RX-8
Cincinnati, Ohio – For several months, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has been monitoring various internet sites to find out what consumers are saying online about the new four-door Mazda RX-8 sports car, scheduled to be sold in 2003 as a 2004 model. The RX-8 features a 250-horsepower rotary engine, six-speed transmission, freestyle four-door configuration, and a sedan-sized back seat.
“We were interested to see the kinds of comments coming from Internet buzz,” says Kevin Everhart, spokesman for MNAO in Irvine, California. “We have some informal events with consumers, and I think the more informal the events are, the more free consumers feel to talk,” Everhart explains. “But on the Internet, they say things to each other that are much more candid than what you would find in a face-to-face interview with a manufacturer. The inhibitions are shed a little when it’s in an Internet environment.”
Company representatives monitored consumers’ Mazda RX-8 comments on Web sites such as rotarynews.com and several competitors’ sites, and engaged a private survey company, PlanetFeedback, to collect consumer feedback from public discussion boards on the internet as well as standard sources such as phone surveys, mail, e-mail and fax.
Mazda says it plans to use the data on a variety of fronts – to monitor public relations, to track trends and the spread of information and to prepare for more refined marketing/focus-group outreach.