Media News

Detroit auto reporter Meloni is retiring

June 7, 2024

Posted by Chris Roush

Rod Meloni

Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free-Press writes about Rod Meloni, who is retiring after three decades leading auto industry and business coverage at WDIV-TV in Detroit.

Tompor writes, “During his early years on the auto beat, Meloni one day found himself standing in Detroit in front of a moving SUV as Chrysler tried to prove a point on sudden, unexpected acceleration.

“The profitable Grand Cherokee was haunted by consumer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the mid-1990s of unintended or sudden acceleration. Drivers charged that they felt the vehicle seemingly race out of control for no apparent reason, and, according to some complaints, the acceleration took place even when a driver was actively trying to apply the brakes. The auto industry maintained that much of the problem was driver error, as somehow drivers were hitting the gas pedal when they thought they were putting their foot on the brake.

“Meloni — a critical eye covering the sudden acceleration crisis at Chrysler Corp. for NBC affiliate WDIV — agreed to stand in front of a Grand Cherokee on live TV, wrote Chrysler PR executive Jason Vines in his 2014 book ‘What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity.'”

Read more here.

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