Mercedes-Benz Australia today released a response to a personal attack on one of its senior executives by broadcaster Alan Jones.
The carefully worded statement reinforced the company's “corporate values” and “global integrity code” and aimed to clarify its position on advertising on 2GB, which Jones brought into question yesterday morning with a personal attack on the company's corporate communications manager, David McCarthy, following his comments demanding the return of a $250,000 S-Class limousine.
Jones claimed a Mercedes-Benz advertising contract with 2GB had been cancelled two weeks before his controversial comments about the death of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father.
But the Mercedes-Benz statement claims there was more than one contract.
“Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific cancelled its corporate sponsorship contract with 2GB on 1st October 2012 giving 28 days' notice,” the statement read.
“Separately there was an advertising contract with 2GB and our NSW Dealers. We now understand that this contract was cancelled on or about 19 September 2012 giving 28 days' notice of this to 2GB.”
Mercedes-Benz said the widely condemned comments by Jones also prompted it to instruct its dealers to cease any advertising with the radio station.
“The Company advised our NSW dealers on 1st October 2012 that we had withdrawn our approval for them to advertise with 2GB with immediate effect to ensure that no further advertising was to take place on 2GB.
“These decisions were commercial decisions and were in no way politically motivated as inferred by some media outlets.”
The statement also defended the actions of its executives, including the man in Jones's firing line, Mr McCarthy.
“Every Mercedes-Benz Executive involved has acted in accordance with our corporate values with the requisite authority and the full support of the Company's Board of Management.”
Yesterday morning, Jones said the request by Mr McCarthy to return the use of the luxury limousine would cost the company sales.
"Now this bloke McCarthy has big noted himself on behalf of Mercedes-Benz and said: 'Well we want the car back straight away and if we don't we'll get over there and we'll repossess it and we'll take it away from him.'” Jones said.
"You big hero, Mr McCarthy. How many phone calls did you make to me, you absolutely gutless wonder? None, none."
He continued the attack on radio this morning, again suggesting the company's comments would impact on its sales and dealers.
“How do they [the people who work at dealerships] keep their jobs now that people are angry, that people don't go through the door, that they've decided they'll buy a BMW or a Holden, anything other than a Mercedes-Benz all because of one person,” Jones said.