DETROIT: Looking back at a period he called 'PR hell,' Jason Vines,
Ford Motor Company VP communications, said in a Medialink-organized
Web-cast last week that the media exaggerated in-fighting between Ford
and Firestone during last year's massive tire recall.
'The media loves the sexiness of a fight,' he said, also revealing that
while Ford and Firestone worked together throughout the crisis to
replace problem tires, the relationship deteriorated. 'During late
August and into early September, when things got a little ugly, we were
working together less,' he admitted.
Vines also defended the use of CEO Jac Nasser in Ford television
commercials during the crisis. Some media watchers had called Nasser
less than effective.
'We need a face on Ford Motor Company. Who was the logical person? I'm
proud of him and I think he did a great job.'
Ford PR people put in 12-16 hour days for 12 weeks during the height of
the crisis and the work, and recall developments, took their toll on
staff, he said. When a report came in that a woman who was waiting for
replacement tires had been in an accident that injured her son, 'some of
the people on our staff were in tears,' he revealed.
Vines criticized media outlets for not checking on information leaked to
them by others. He also lambasted Congressional staffers who spoke out
during Washington hearings on the crisis, calling them 'political
science majors commenting on engineering.'