Ben DiPietro, The Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Journal, October 2, 2015

Volkswagen’s emissions deception. Fiat-Chrysler underreporting its death and injuries totals. General Motors’ ignition switch scandal. Toyota’s gas pedal bungle. Takata’s air bag mess. The automotive industry has been taking one reputation hit after another, leading to costly recalls, criminal charges, hefty fines and unhappy customers, dealers and shareholders. What can the industry do to clean up its image? Or do they even have to, as the latest sales figures show the industry is poised to have its best year since 2000?

“Cynically, they’re saying ‘It doesn’t matter to our bottom line whether we lie or whether you know we lie or whether x number of people die because of the things we lie about. You still have to buy from us. Maybe I’ve degraded the brand but you don’t have anywhere else to go,’ ” said Davia Temin, president and chief executive of crisis management firm Temin and Co. Assuming the industry wants to clean up its reputation, she said it needs to stop making promises to fix its problems and actually fix those problems–then communicate to its constituencies. […read more]