Opinion

Subaru Emirates Bro-Gate is a warning for sector

When your company is in trouble you better be aware of it and you better be sure the person facing the flak doesn’t resort to calling genuinely offended people as ‘Bro’. 

To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, Subaru Emirates may not have started the fire but it could have and should have done a lot more to put it out.

The dealership owned by Al Adiyat found itself at the centre of a storm after its Facebook page carried a picture of an accident in Dubai which resulted in the death of four members of family. They died after their car hit a stationary vehicle on the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai at the weekend. The female driver of the car had left it there after one of her tyres punctured.

In what was an apparently innocent attempt to highlight another fatal accident on the UAE highways, the person responsible for uploading the image chose to go with now infamous caption of “Women driver at it again” and a confused paragraph at the end of a description of the accident that seemed to blame the deserted driver’s behaviour on her gender.

When the post drew dozens of comments from appalled readers, the administrator of the site – which is believed to be the employee of Subaru Emirates’ PR company Dunamis – tried to appease them in a way that has been described as anything from inarticulate to insulting. As the post stayed on the Facebook page for more than a day, many turned to Subaru of America, Inc’s own page to force its removal.

While that organisation told CMME that it, understandably, had nothing to do with it, they did say they would look into it. I can only imagine the dismay at having to handle the social media front end in one of your biggest markets after a third party employed by a dealer halfway around the other side of the world decides to offend a sizeable slice of the local demographics.

I’m going to set aside any observations about what was written – as that has already been chewed over by the local media in the UAE. Suffice to say, CMME has been a long-standing advocate for greater road safety awareness and hopes that this will further highlight a need for greater vigilance. Afterall, consideration for other users should be one of the major objectives and responsibilities of everybody that drives. Wherever they are in the world, and wherever they are from. Respect for those who lose their lives in such avoidable circumstances should be equally paramount.

The automotive industry and the machinery industry share so many similarities that this type of incident should also serve as a warning to dealers hoping to engage in social media and more importantly how their actions can have a serious impact on their manufacturer partners.

 

 

 

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