Jericho Communications, Inc.
(212) 645-6900 - FAX (212) 645-5880
CONTACT: Greg Mowery, Jericho Communications, Inc., 212-645-6900 Ext. 114

--High Percentage Insist That If Guilty The CEO Should Go To Jail--

New York, New York October 26, 2000
In a new survey of more than 1,000 consumers, more than half (51.3%) believe Firestone knew their tires had design flaws that led to traffic accidents and fatalities. The new survey, conducted by America's Research Group (ARG), also reveals that 62.9% of buyers will not be purchasing Firestone tires in the future. "This should be devastating news for Firestone," says ARG Chairman, C. Britt Beemer. "We do a lot of surveys about consumer concerns. This story just wouldn't go away, and we wanted to know how serious the fallout for Firestone might be. This survey clearly shows that Firestone has lost one third of its business-which is a strong indicator the company will probably be out of business in the not-too-distant future."

America's Research Group is a full-service consumer behavior survey research and strategic marketing firm which records consumer buying patterns for a number of retail clients and manufacturers. The company regularly contacts consumers about their purchasing habits through their "Consumer Mind Reader" surveys.

This survey also shows that consumers have strong opinions on the reasons behind Firestone's slow reaction to their defective tires, and what steps the company should take if it is to survive:

  • 64.9% said Firestone execs continued to make defective tires knowing they would result in accidents
  • 37.2% thought Firestone didn't fix the problem because it was too expensive
  • 34.7% thought Firestone simply didn't take the problem seriously enough
  • 48.6% strongly feel that more Firestone tires will be found to be defective and will have to be recalled
  • A whopping 92.6% say that Firestone should compensate those who lost loved ones. Of that group,43.2% said they should receive monetary settlements 31.5% thought they should receive replacement tires, and 8.9% felt an apology from Firestone was the appropriate gesture
  • 39.3% think if criminal charges are brought against Firestone, the CEO should go to jail
  • 57.3% feel the Firestone story has lowered their trust in companies they buy from

Britt Beemer continues: "Clearly consumers feel Firestone betrayed their trust. While 59.7% of consumers polled felt that Firestone is currently working hard to replace these defective tires, 72% say trust has become a more important component in their purchasing decisions in the future. This survey revealed other issues of concern to consumers in connection with the unfolding Firestone tire scandal:

  • 54.7% felt the government acted too slowly in moving Firestone to recall their defective tires
  • While 55.1% have seen the TV ads featuring the Ford CEO, 47.8% of those who recalled seeing the Ford TV ads felt he was hiding knowledge about Firestone tires
  • 63.7% said Ford's CEO was stiff in his presentation in the TV ads
  • 64.8% thought Ford's CEO came across as concerned about the problem but only 49% thought his presentation was sincere

"Ford didn't entirely escape the wrath of consumers in our survey," says Beemer. "Nearly 38% felt that Ford did know about the defective tires, and 50% of them believed that Ford was willing to let their customers die rather than announce a recall. At a time when consumers say reputation and trust are important, Firestone may have committed the unpardonable sin. We've seen executives stumble time and time again over recall issues concerning public safety. It may take the closing of a high profile brand such as Firestone to convince big business that it's better to pay the piper the moment the problem arises. Recalls are expensive. But think how much more has been lost through their callous indifference."

C.Britt Beemer is Available for Interview
For more information Contact America's Research Group.

America's Research Group, Ltd. (ARG), is a full service consumer behavior survey research company with more than 20 years experience. ARG has interviewed more than 4 million consumers. Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research, the firm works with clients to develop practical and successful marketing strategies for pace-setting companies in the fields of home furnishings, appliance and electronics retailing, banking and finance, automobile dealers, department stores, specialty and mass merchants. Clients include Sealy Mattress, Barnes & Noble, AT&T Wireless, Eckerd Drugs, Broyhill Furniture, Thomasville Furniture, American Eagle Outfitters and many others. ARG claims a plus or minus 3.8% accuracy.

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