“In a sign of just how much General Motors Co.’s recalls have focused attention on auto safety, Chrysler Group LLC is reorganizing its vehicle safety efforts into a new unit led by a senior vice president who will report directly to CEO Sergio Marchionne”, so reports the Detroit News.
Commendable. But is it enough to restore car buyers’ confidence? Upside: Like General Motors, Chrysler is now insuring that safety — arguably the most important issue for car manufacturers — will now get top management priority attention. Downside: The trust deficit resulting from almost 30 million vechicles recalled this year by Chrysler and General Motors represents a formidable reputational mountain that must be scaled.
From a public relations perspective — in the fullest sense of public relations — it seems that the companies would do well to improve their status with the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with which, according to the Detroit News, Chrysler “has faced several battles”.
Car companies must not only improve the safety of their products but, like all companies, have a fail-safe recall system at the earliest indication that their products may represent a threat to public safety.
The auto industry’s safety problems — egregious as they are — have been somewhat alleviated by the current automotive market replete with many aging vehicles in need of replacement.
But deaths and injuries attributable to car safety failures trump such commercial statistics. Recalls are costly, but the costs of deaths and injuries are incalculable.