The paper "How Bridgestone Handled the 2000 Tyre Crisis" is a great example of business coursework. This essay is about corporate crisis communication. The essay is based on an incident that occurred back in 2000. Bridgestone, a then-famous manufacturer of car tyres, was forced to recall millions of its various brands of tyres after reports to the effect that a fault in the company’ s tyres had been causing road accidents started to emerge. At first, the company denied the allegations and was hesitant to recall the tyres. However, growing pressure from the public and authorities forced the company to issue a recall of the affected tyres.
In the essay, a brief examination of the way the company responded to the crisis is presented. This is followed by a detailed analysis of the positive and negative aspects of the way the company responded to the crisis, based on theories of corporate communication practice. The Firestone/Bridgestone 2000 Tyre Crisis The Bridgestone/Firestone tyre crisis is said to have started back in 1998 when users of Ford vehicles started complaining that some tyres fitted on the cars were causing problems to motorists (Arney 2000).
The brands of Ford vehicles in question were those that used tyres manufactured by Bridgestone. Formal investigations that followed showed that the tyres that were causing accidents on Ford vehicles were ATX, ATXII and Wilderness AT (CNN Money 2000). Further investigations showed that these brands of tyres had problems in the configuration of their treads and that the treads were peeling off soon after the tyres had been in use for some time (CNN Money 2000). A further investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) laid the blame on the design of the tyres (Arney 2000).
At first, Bridgestone was reluctant to accept that its brands of tyres had flaws and that the flaws were causing accidents (Schubert 2011, p. 4). However, growing public pressure, compounded with pressure from the authorities, increased tremendously between 1999 and early 2000. On 9th May 2000, Bridgestone issued a statement in which it said that it was recalling 6.5 million tyres that it had already released to the market (Schubert 2011, p. 2). The company acknowledged that investigations had indicated that its affected brands of tyres had flaws in their treads and that the flaws were causing accidents to motorists.
Although the actual cost of the recall was not disclosed at the time, it is estimated that the company lost millions of US dollars because of the process (CNN Money 2000). Also, the company suffered a considerable degree or reputation damage because of the way it had handled the issue before making the recall. At first, the company had refused to acknowledge that the problem existed. Also, the company took a long time to realise that it was in the middle of a crisis and that it needed to take the necessary measures to address the situation. How the Company Responded to the Crisis The response of Bridgestone to the crisis can be summarised as follows.
First, the company attempted to ignore all the early complaints about its tyres (Schubert 2011, p. 3). This response characterised the stance of the company between 1998 when complaints about possible faults in its tyres first emerged and early 2000 when the company fully acknowledged that some of its tyres were faulty.
Bridgestone’ s initial stance can be attributed to the fact that at first when some motorists and pressure groups started raising complaints to the effect that some tyres were contributing to auto accidents, it was Ford, the carmaker, that faced the pressure (Arney 2000). Therefore, Bridgestone managed to ignore the complaints at first because it felt that it was unlikely that its tyres were causing the problem.
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