The First Rule Of Owning A Toyota Tundra In Australia Is You’re Not Allowed To Talk About Your Toyota Tundra
from the shhhhhhh dept
Here are two things that cannot simultaneously be true: a company is very confident in the product it produces and that same company is very afraid of public discussion of its product on social media. This is generally true of pretty much every product in every category, but it gets a little more serious when we’re talking about a two-and-a-half ton hunk of metal on wheels that has to be retrofit for driving in a new country.
Which brings us to the introduction of the Toyota Tundra in Australia. The automaker has decided to enter that particular market with the Tundra through its Toyota Insider Program. The wrinkle in this is that Tundra’s are made primarily in Texas for the American market and Australian streets are flipped. The means that the trucks need to be converted from left-hand driving for the steering wheel to right-hand. Toyota has partnered with a local automotive company to do this conversion and will be piloting the program with a few hundred Tundras.
No big deal, right? Well, if Toyota were all that confident in its plans for all of this, why is part of the Insider Program an agreement that you won’t talk about your Tundra on social media, or talk about or provide the vehicle to any local press?
A letter from Toyota to prospective participants in the Tundra Insider Program advises customers will need to make their vehicles available for frequent detailed technical inspections, and to not share their experiences on social media or with motoring media outlets.
While the more frequent technical inspections are understandable – given the program was established to detect early any rectification work that may be required before ramping up production – the ban on social media activity is unusual given the vehicles will be in the public domain and on public roads.
Toyota Tundra customers who take part in the ‘Insider Program’ must agree to “avoid any comment about the Tundra on social media, and refrain from mentioning or discussing the lease agreement, or the Tundra itself, with any media outlets.”
I’d love to know how this is going to be enforced. Is the company going to monitor the social media feeds and activities of everyone in the Insider Program? Creepy! Does Toyota somehow think that these people can’t figure out a way to anonymously speak with the press if they want? Silly!
And here’s the thing: it’s very clear that Toyota has, in the words of the source post, turned “people into beta testers.” And, yeah, beta testers often have to sign NDAs or otherwise agree to keep quiet about the product they’re testing. But they also don’t typically pay for the privilege of being a beta tester, whereas the Insider Program costs over $1,000 a month for a year.
Keep in mind these are going to be vehicles on the public roadways. If Toyota really thinks it can keep everyone silent about these trucks, best of luck to them. And if the Australian press doesn’t have its alarm bells going off as a result of all this attempted secrecy, shame on them as well.
Filed Under: australia, secrecy, toyota insider program, toyota tundra