Ford responds to recent PR crisis with decisive action
Gas prices are continuing to soar, and consumers are becoming more and more aware of how much gas they are purchasing. This has made it increasingly important for new cars coming on the market to boast high miles per gallon so that drivers can get the most out of each and every tank. Hybrid cars can typically get about fifty miles to the gallon. Newer model gas cars are able to get about twenty-five to thirty miles to the gallon. This means that any new car being produced needs to be able to compete with advances in technology that allow cars to go further on less gas.
Advertising for new cars emphasises highway and city miles per gallon as this is one of the major deciding factors when a person is looking to purchase a new car. People are becoming more practical and doing more research to determine whether or not they will be able to afford the gas for their new vehicle. This means that people are more cautious about buying and are looking into the mechanics of cars more closely.
Trying to make the gas mileage of their cars more appealing to the market has resulted in some problems for Ford. The automaker states that it recently discovered that estimated MPG on some of its new models was overestimated. The company discovered an error in the calculations used to determine miles per gallon, and this resulted in advertisements stating that MPG was one to five miles less than advertised.
Ford has offered compensation to owners and lessees of the vehicles that were advertised incorrectly. In total, about two hundred thousand vehicles were sold with the incorrect mileage, and the company has offered compensation ranging from $125 to $1,050. Ford states that it is committed to delivering the best possible fuel economy and information to customers.
The potential for a PR disaster in this situation is relatively high, but Ford has handled it admirably. By admitting the error and coming forward immediately with offers of compensation, the company lets the consumer know that they are in touch with consumer concerns such as accurate fuel economy and that they will do everything possible to make things right. Ford has presented itself as a trustworthy and honest company that will admit its mistakes and try to make amends.
Though Ford handled this situation very well from a public relations perspective, the company also needs to be cautious as this is the second such error to come to light. The public has an eye on the company now and will be more cautious when it comes to making the major purchase of an automobile from a company with a track record for mislabeling MPG.
Public relations, especially when it comes to handling an error, must be handled quickly and decisively. And maintaining message control is vital. This is an essential lesson in PR to take to heart. Being open with consumers may be difficult short-term, but more often than not works out better in the long run.