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.

Return to News Index