Automotive Public Relations at Mitsubishi Motors


This is an exclusive, uncut interview with automotive PR expert Dan Irvin about his experience running public relations and corporate communications at Mitsubishi Motors, some of the challenges of doing PR in the automotive sector, managing their public relations agencies, and how technology has impacted his job.

Dan Irvin is the director of corporate communications and public relations at Mitsubishi Motors North America.

Automotive PR Insights

4:45 – Dan Irvin talks about the panel he spoke at on repairing corporate reputation at the Media Relations conference.

5:32 – Irvin discusses repairing corporate reputation after a crisis: “It’s not a media relations issue.  It ultimately begins from…communicating the slow, steady process to all your stakeholders, not just the media…”

7:32 – Irvin on whether it is essential to respond to a crisis: “With the explosion of media coverage…people are going to talk, people are going to write, people are going to broadcast, people are going to podcast…all of that information is going to be out there, [and] it’s important that our side of the story be represented…”

8:32 – Irvin talks about what constitutes a public relations crisis.

9:40 – Irvin talks about how Mitsubishi Motors responded to its crisis and the value of using public relations consultants and crisis communications consultants: “…it’s not something that you can manage with media relations and with public relations.  First and foremost, you have to change your culture, [and] that means internally.”

10:31 – Irvin talks about what it’s like running PR at a car company. 

12:13 – Irvin discusses whether he responds to incoming requests of consumers and stakeholders or if he looks for editorial opportunities.  

13:06 – Irvin talks about the impact of blogs and consumer-generated media on Mitsubishi Motors:  “…the thing that worries me about the blog, the thing that really worries me about the fact that everybody’s opinion on the internet has an equal weight…is [that] we have really lost our sense of accountability.”

15:13 – Irvin discusses social media marketing communications’ potential dangers and opportunities.

16:06 – Irvin talks about the target audience of Mitsubishi Motors.

17:26 – Irvin discusses the challenges Mitsubishi Motors faces when reaching constituents and how he reaches consumers: “…Mitsubishi has a unique PR challenge to get out there, [and] that is that we’re gonna be a survivor.”  

20:37 – Irvin on whether the auto industry is hooked on incentives.  “…the global consumer of automobiles is the most educated consumer in the marketplace…it’s definitely a market right now that’s driven with incentives, and if you try to reduce those incentives, your sales go away.”

22:46 – Irvin on what’s happening with American automakers: “It’s very difficult, and the way that it’s going to be solved is through the partnership of labor, and the companies, and possibly the government, and possibly the health care industry…”

25:15 – Irvin talks about Mitsubishi Motors North America’s plan of action after being hurt by the financial problems of its parent company.

27:26 – Irvin on what led to the company’s 28.5% sales increase between February and March.

28:38 – Irvin talks about the new president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Hiroshi Harunari.

31:33 – Irvin on whether most cars manufactured and sold will soon be hybrid: “For the future of my kids, the hybrids are just a stepping stone…sooner or later, we’re going to have to have something else.”

34:01 – Irvin talks about testing Mitsubishi Motors’s iCar in Los Angeles.

36:10 – Irvin responds to a question on whether the SUV still has legs or if Americans are resistant to it because of the cost of oil: “First of all, we’re in love with the automobile…there’s a lot of talk about fuel efficiency, gas mileage, hybrids…but…the American consumer right now…is not showing that they really care that much [about the environment].”

40:05 – Irvin talks about the safety of automobiles: “…automobiles have never been safer than they are now…”

40:51 – Irvin talks about the safety of SUVs versus compact cars.

43:15 – End.

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