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Under Fire

Will a crisis take your company down? Here's how deft handling can turn public opinion around.

This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Last year, Firestone Tire and Rubber and Ford Motor Co. became embroiled in a massive media crisis when Firestone tires, standard equipment on more than 17,000 Ford trucks and SUVs, were implicated in at least 62 deaths and numerous injuries in the United States. And despite Firestone's ultimate decision to recall more than 6 million tires, its slow response, lack of preparedness for the media onslaught and failure to demonstrate concern for consumers proved catastrophic for the company. Ford, on the other hand, has fared significantly better in the eyes of the public: The company responded immediately to consumers via a national ad campaign, made its executives available for press interviews and established a consumer hotline.

Before Disaster Strikes

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