Salesforce.com to build private label social network for Toyota

Salesforce.com will partner with Toyota to build a private social network, dubbed Toyota Friend. The effort will be built on Salesforce Chatter.

Salesforce.com said Monday that it will partner with Toyota to build a private social network, dubbed Toyota Friend. The effort will be built on Salesforce Chatter.

Toyota Friend will be offered in Japan at first and be available on electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars in 2012. For Salesforce, the Toyota partnership highlights how the company could use Chatter to offer private label networks. Toyota is partnering with Microsoft and others in an effort to catch up to Ford for in-car technology.

The two companies are also investing in Toyota Media Service Co., which will aim to build a global telematics system. Salesforce will invest 223 million yen ($2.85 million) into Toyota Media Service Co. with Toyota Motor Corp. investing 442 million yen ($5.6 million). Microsoft will invest 350 million ($4.3 million) as a partner.

According to the companies, Toyota's social network will connect customers to the company, their cars and dealer. The social network will have maintenance tips, notifications and connections to Twitter and Facebook. Toyota Friend will be available on all devices including the car.

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said "the automobile needs to evolve in step" with social networking. The automaker plans to merge its telematics systems with Toyota Friend.