Ford tapped my phone and car, says automaker's former comms VP

Jason Vines, the former communications VP at Ford Motor Company, says in his to-be-released book that the automaker tapped his phone and car in 2001.

Former Ford Motor Company communications VP Jason Vines
Former Ford Motor Company communications VP Jason Vines

NEW YORK: Former Ford Motor Company communications VP Jason Vines has accused the automaker of tapping his phone in 2001 during the company’s Firestone tire crisis.

He made the allegations in the book "What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers, and Christianity," according to The Detroit News, which received an advance copy of the tome. The book is set for release on November 1.

After Ford fired Vines in October 2001, he claimed a security official from the company told him his car and phone had been bugged for "a few months," The Detroit News reported.

Vines’ book also claims Ford executive chairman Bill Ford was behind leaks to a New York Times reporter during the Firestone tire crisis, in which the company recalled millions of Ford Explorer tires in 2000, eventually leading to then-CEO Jacques Nasser's deposal.

In response to these allegations, Ford global corporate communications manager Susan Krusel told PRWeek via email that the company is not aware of anything of this nature taking place.

She added that the accounts detailed in Vines’ book about the Firestone tire crisis happened more than a decade ago under a "very different" leadership team at Ford.

"As with any retelling of history, memories and accuracy differ from person to person, and this account is no different," she said. "During the events, our sole focus was on doing what was right for the safety of our customers."

Even in the face of Vines’ accusations, Krusel said Ford is grateful for his "tireless leadership" during his time at the automaker.

"We will let the book speak for itself, as we remain focused on creating the next chapter in Ford’s history," she added.

Vines has been an independent communications consultant since last August and a columnist for The Detroit News since 2010. Previously, he was an SVP at FleishmanHillard, communications VP for Christian publisher Zondervan, SVP at Compuware, and VP of communications at Chrysler.

Prior to joining Ford in February 2000, Vines served as communications VP for Nissan North America, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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