AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Toyota develops special social media presence exclusive to owners

Posted by taniapaiva on May 25, 2011

I thought it was interesting to see that Toyota has just developed an owner-specific social media platform. I found it interesting since I could not help but wonder — aren’t they behind the curve? So, I did some checking, and I confirmed most car makers have social media sites, but they are not specific to owners — the space that Toyota hopes to enter with this page. I think they are hot in pursuit of fostering continued brand loyalty. Would you join a social media site for owners of your car maker? Do you want to get to know others that share your car brand?

Automobile Manufacturers with social media presence: Nissan, Volkswagen, Mini, Chevrolet, GM, Mercedes Benz, BMW

ToyotaDevelops An Owner Social Media Platform

Karl Greenberg, May 24, 2011 04:23 PM

Toyota Motor Co. (TMC) is launching a new social-media platform called “Toyota Friend,” essentially a network forToyotacustomers that includes a real-time Internet connection to their vehicles, dealers andToyotaitself, and a social media platform connecting owners to each other and the company. The Toyota Friend, which represents collaboration betweenToyotaand, will be powered by Salesforce Chatter, a private social network.

Toyota Media Service (TMS) President Akio Toyoda said in a statement: “Social networking services are transforming human interaction and modes of communication. The automobile needs to evolve in step with that transformation. I am always calling forToyotato make ever-better cars. The alliance that we announce today is an important step forward in achieving that goal.” and TMC will each make investments in TMS, which oversees TMC’s global cloud platform development. will invest ¥223 million and TMC will invest ¥442 million. Microsoft Corporation, which on April 6 announced a strategic partnership with TMC to build a global platform for next-generation telematics services, will invest ¥335 million.

Robin Daniels, director of product marketing at, tells Marketing Daily that the collaboration gets the car into the social media space, which it has not been part of heretofore. “The future is really going social and mobile, and the ultimate mobile device is your car. But right now it is disconnected from what’s going on in terms of other drivers, dealers, and owners. This network gives customers an opportunity to connect in a new way and in real time.”

The deal makesToyotaone of 80,000 companies around the world that use’s Chatter platform, which is kind of a closed social network with a Facebook-like aspect. Outside of the car, the “Toyota Friend” platforms presented as a Web and mobile page show each of a customer’s vehicles and real-time data about what’s going on inside that vehicle, since the platform uses wireless diagnostic transmissions from Toyota vehicles on things like tire pressure, fuel and oil levels, or in the case of electric or hybrid, charge levels. If an electric vehicle or partial hybrid vehicle is running low on battery power, Toyota Friend would notify the driver to recharge in the form of a “tweet”-like alert.

The owner page also shows a Google map beside each vehicle that indicates its location. Dealers will also have access to the diagnostic data on the page. The Chatter area, which is accessed via the Toyota Friend portal, is the social network aspect. The Chatter page lets users get updates, connect with other users/Toyota owners, and share information. The closed social network can also connect to the wider world through Twitter and Facebook. The service will also be accessible through smartphones, tablet PCs, and other advanced mobile devices. The platform can also be accessed within the vehicle via a “Toyota Friend” icon on aToyotacar or truck’s telematics/ navigation screen on the console.

Daniels saysToyotaapproached Salesforce in January this year, “so it’s been a quick turnaround. They had wanted to develop the next generation of services for drivers. They really liked our cloud computing infrastructure and our Chatter platform. They wanted to create a new experience for drivers.”

He says the first iteration will roll out initially in 2012 inJapanand then worldwide, and that “out of the box” the Chatter platform comes in 20 languages.



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