Once again, Ford is on the hot seat. In a massive recall, Ford Motor Company is recalling about 590,000 automobiles because of issues with the power-assist to the steering. While the issue does not stop steering, the malfunction could cause the power assist to fail completely, making the vehicles more difficult to turn.
According to Ford, the steering issue has been found on the 2013-15 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ as well as the 2015 Ford Edge SUV. According to the recall, bolts used in the steering system may rust and, subsequently, fracture, resulting in a loss of power steering. While the steering would still function, chances of a crash are increased.
At this point, no accidents have been reported. And that, folks, is the first positive situation related to this press release. Ford took the initiative to stop a potential issue long before it became an actual issue, and even further ahead of any consumer complaints or problems. That sort of initiative can turn what should be a negative PR situation into a positive consumer reaction.
Most reasonable customers understand that, when you are dealing with mechanical things, sometimes stuff breaks. Sure, nobody is ever happy when it does, and it can be quite frustrating, but it’s not unthinkable. What is unthinkable is an automaker ignoring certain issues until people are injured, or lives are lost. That is exactly the sort of PR nightmare some of Ford’s closest competitors are facing at the moment. Ford chose the smart route of learning from their mistakes and refusing to fall victim to the same horrific results. The company found an issue and immediately dealt with it. That sort of thinking and customer care goes a long way.
While the problem will only be fixed when it’s fixed, and in the meantime, customers are frustrated and inconvenienced, jumping out ahead of the problem helps Ford in (at least) two ways. First, they are positioned as a company willing to put themselves out there to take action on behalf of their customers. Second, they get multiple opportunities for positive PR, first when they take charge of the issue and again when they fix it. Both occasions are reasons for their customers to feel safer and appreciated.