In 1987, Chrysler faced a federal indictment for disconnecting the odometers on cars that were driven by certain executives then reattaching the odometer and selling the car as new. When the story hit newsstands, the public was outraged. Although Chrysler maintained that the practice was standard in the industry and not illegal, Lee Iacocca, then-chairman of Chrysler’s board, held a press conference and acknowledged the allegations were true, apologized for the incident and promised it would never happen again. Although Chrysler would eventually settle the lawsuit for $26 million, Iacocca’s response successfully changed the public’s perception. Before Iacocca’s press conference, a Chrysler survey found that more than half of those who had heard about the odometer tampering “thought it was a serious problem.” Following the mea culpa, a survey conducted by a third party found that 67% of those who were aware of Iacocca’s response thought it was “sufficient to repair the damage done to Chrysler,” and only 18% thought “Chrysler had not gone far enough.” The declaration stopped a mounting public backlash and put the negative story to rest. Although Chrysler continued to be in the headlines after Iacocca’s press conference, the tenor of the news stories was remarkably… Read full this story
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