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So there exists this vast database of knowledge called the Internet. It's free to access (for the most part, unless you're at Starbucks or in Europe) and as a consumer you've been able to use it for research in purchasing decisions since the mid 90's. Then why does it seem automakers are completely dumbfounded by numbers indicating, in the case of Jeep, 85% of buyers are using it? The shock and amazement isn't limited to domestic auto brands (or the German-American hybrid, to be specific), it's also being felt across I-75 by the folks at VDub's NorAm HQ. That's where Kerri Martin, VW's director of brand innovation no doubt sat the other day, pecking away the following response to questions posed by Automotive News reporter Mary Connelly via her Tandy "workstation":

"It is a real powerful medium for cannot underestimate the power that the Web has had on brands...

...and when brands don't treat their customers just right, that word spreads fast."

Kerri, that's so Web 2.0 of you โ€” talking all about interactivity โ€” but since you called it "a real powerful medium" โ€” we just know you printed that out on your dot matrix and faxed it downtown to Crain's.

Marketers: Automaker Web sites drive sales (sub. req.) [Automotive News]

Once More For The Road: The Daily Show Reminds Us "The Internet...It's Not A Big Truck"; Autoextremist on the Impending Doom of Car Mags [internal]