Tag: Jetgate

By on March 8, 2010

The personal transportation choices of auto executives has always been an easy point of reference for members of the mainstream media looking for an easy story. From Alan Mulally’s Lexus to Akio Toyoda’s Davos Audi getaway, auto execs’ use of non-company vehicles is always good for a quick “gotcha” headline. But no story in this rich oeuvre has had quite the impact of Jet-Gate, the name given to the mini-scandal that erupted when the executives of Ford, Chrysler and GM arrived in Washington DC for bailout hearings in three separate private jets, prompting derisive comments from members of congress. The PR misstep has haunted Detroit ever since, inspiring federal rules barring bailed-out automakers from using executive jets, and making transportation choices for auto-related DC hearings a major priority for automaker PR: Toyota’s Jim Lentz clearly had the episode in mind when he arrived for recent hearings in a recalled and repaired Toyota Highlander. And thanks to a recent revelation about GM Chairman/CEO Ed Whitacre’s use of executive jets, furor over auto-exec transportation is clearly a long way from playing itself out.

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