Tire maker severs ties with Ford

By Nedra Pickler

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is ending a century-long relationship with Ford Motor Co. that became strained in the last year following the recall of millions of Firestone tires linked to at least 174 U.S. traffic deaths.

Business relationships, like personal ones, are built upon trust and mutual respect,” John T. Lampe, chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone/Firestone, wrote in a letter to Ford CEO Jacques Nasser. “We have come to the conclusion that we can no longer supply tires to Ford since the basic foundation of our relationship has been seriously eroded.

“This is not a decision we make lightly after almost 100 years of history. But, we must look to the future and the best interests of our company, our employees and our other customers.”

Officials from Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone have exchanged blame for the tire failures since they came to light last summer. Federal safety investigators have collected hundreds of accident reports linked to blowouts, tread separations and other problems.

Last August Bridgestone/Firestone recalled 6.5 million ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires. Both companies said they thought the recall was adequate to cover all defective tires, but last week Ford officials met with federal investigators to say they are concerned about other Wilderness ATs not included in the recall.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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