Monday, June 22, 2009

Training your customers

Ford has decided that it is in their best interest to offer driving lessons to Chinese. Jalopnik has the press release and many nice videos that demonstrate how insane Chinese intersections can be.

Any new technology requires training, and most Chinese cars are sold to first-time buyers. Not only first time buyers, but first-time drivers. Unlike the U.S., the driving education system in China is virtually non-existent and teaches weird techniques like how to drive on two parallel beams. In the U.S. driver education creates a public good that comes from having well trained motorists. What Ford is doing with their educational efforts in China is anticipating that the public benefits of good drivers will translate into private gains through increased vehicle sales. In addition, by lessening the environmental and social damage from autos Ford can also avoid potential regulations in the future. Though I wonder if the Chinese penchant for queue jumping is manifest in their driving behaviors.
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