LOS ANGELES: After a nine-year relationship, the American Honda Motor Company is parting ways with AOR The Rogers Group.
The Torrance, CA-based automaker will move its PR operation in house, scheduled to be completed by May 1, despite a "wonderful association" with its agency, said Kurt Antonius, Honda's assistant VP of PR.
The shift will allow Honda to better develop its communications-department employees, Antonius said, allowing them to gain the kind of "institutional, in-depth knowledge of the company" that can't occur when working with outside agencies, he added.
These changes would not necessarily be limited to the PR division, Antonius said. Honda is also taking a "wider strategic look a long-term vendors and contractors [in other departments], to see where it might be appropriate to move positions in-house."
The company, which had traditionally maintained a lean internal team, will likely hire more people to fill the Rogers' roles.
Roles previously held by Rogers Group employees "will essentially become Honda positions," he said. "We'll definitely strengthen our internal staff tremendously."
Lynne Doll, Rogers president, said some staff formerly dedicated to the Honda account would either find new roles in the agency, apply for Honda positions, and some might be laid off.
"We have a good history in the automotive business," Doll said. "We've been working with automotive companies for 25 years and intend to continue."