Ford to Announce Plan to Replace 10-13 Million Firestone Tires: aftermarketnews

Thanks to aftermarketnews.com for this story.

DETROIT -- According to several news reports this morning, Ford Motor Co. plans to replace 10-13 million Firestone tires, far surpassing the huge recall ordered last summer by Bridgestone/Firestone. This comes after Ford officials issued a statement from CEO Jacques Nasser saying he would make an announcement today about "actions to address" issues involving other unnamed Firestone tires.

Nasser will fly to Washington this morning to brief lawmakers on the plan, and then he is scheduled to make an announcement later in the day at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, MI, sources told the Associated Press.

The action is not being labeled a recall by Ford, according to ABCNews.com.

The decision by Ford comes the day after Bridgestone/Firestone announced it was ending its almost 100-year history of providing tires for Ford vehicles. The tiremaker said the two companies' relationship has been "seriously eroded" by the automaker's insistance that only Firestone tires were to blame for hundreds of rollover accidents involving the Ford Explorer.

"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," Bridgestone/Firestone head John Lampe said Monday in a statement.

"We believe they are attempting to divert scrutiny of their vehicle by casting doubt on the quality of Firestone tires," Lampe said in the statement. "The tires are safe, and, as we have said before, when we have a problem, we will acknowledge that problem and fix it. We expect Ford to do the same."

Nasser responded by saying: "We are deeply disappointed that Firestone decided not to work together for the safety of our shared customers, which is the only issue that matters."

The two companies have each blamed each other for tread separations and blowouts that have allegedly killed and injured hundreds. Ford maintains the accidents were caused solely by defective tires. But Bridgestone/Firestone, while admitting design and manufacturing irregularities, has maintained that the design of the Explorer contributed to the failures.

Both companies, which face hundreds of lawsuits over the accidents, said they thought last year's recall of 6.5 million tires was adequate. But, last week, Ford officials told federal investigators they are concerned that Wilderness ATs not included in the recall might pose safety problems. Ford reportedly asked government officials to order a recall of more Firestone tires.

Consumer groups had previously sought to broaden the tire recall to include other Firestone tires.

Editor's Note: ABCNews.com, StarNews.com and the Detroit News contributed to this story.

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