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Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. Statement

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.--May 23, 2001--Following is a statement from Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.:

    Today we shared with Congress compelling data showing that a Ford Explorer is twice as likely to rollover in a tire-related accident than any other SUV. We believe this data, along with the data we shared with the public earlier this week, continues to raise serious questions about the safety of a significant segment of Explorers.
    Ford Explorers on non-Firestone tires continue to experience tread separations and tragic rollover accidents. Just last week, another life was lost when an Explorer rolled over in Florida after a tread separated from a competitors' tire. Ford's decision to replace Firestone tires will not stop these accidents from occurring.
    Ford attempted an action similar to the one announced yesterday in Venezuela. The accidents continue there -- just as they do in the U.S. -- on Explorers equipped with other tires.
    We take responsibility for our tires. The tires Ford is replacing under this program are safe. But, for the Ford Explorer, the question of safety remains. We have said all along that a tire cannot be looked at in isolation. To fully understand these accidents, one must evaluate the interaction of the vehicle and the tire.