As Expected: Firestone Recalls 4×4 Tyres
The Ford Explorer has come under pressure because of a supposed series of accidents, blamed on allegedly faulty Firestone tyres. Both Ford and Bridgestone Firestone are strenuously denying the allegations. Firestone is the biggest tyre supplier for Ford’s Explorer and Expedition SUVs and the Aiken factory (opened last year) depends heavily on this business.
The plant has an annual capacity of ten million tyres, of which nearly half are destined for Ford. After US retailer Sears Roebuck has taken some types of Firestone tyres off its shelves for this reason, in Tokyo, shares in Bridgestone fell by 8.8% at the news.
In the US, Bridgestone/Firestone suggested at first that customers visit their B/F dealer for a tyre check but then decided to recall voluntarily ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tyres. The only size involved is the 235/75 R 15. This can count for up to 6.
5 million tyres. This information was given in a press conference on 9th August in Washington D.C.
The replacement will start in the south states of the USA because the problem often occurred in hot weather. The customer will be given a new tyre free of charge regardless of the condition of the old one. Firestone are also immediately recalling tyres from its 4×4 Wilderness range in Europe.
Only one size is affected and relatively small numbers are involved. It is expected that the cost to Firestone could reach US$ 500 million. There are also rumours that Ford – itself coming under growing pressure – intends to change tyre suppliers for its Explorer and Expedition models.