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New Recall of Ford SUV Tires From Firestone

WASHINGTON February 27, 2004; Stephen Power and Timothy Aeppel writing for the WSJ reported that almost four years after a massive recall of its tires linked to deadly highway rollovers of Ford Motor Co. sport-utility vehicles, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC announced another, though much smaller, recall of tires mounted on Ford SUVs, Friday's Wall Street Journal reported.

The U.S. unit of Japan's Bridgestone Corp. said it is replacing 297,000 tires mounted as original equipment on Ford Excursions built between 2000 and 2003 and sold in the U.S., following reports to government regulators of six crashes in which five people died and 20 were injured. The company said it also will replace 20,000 of the same type of tires on Ford Excursions, of the same model years, that were exported.

Firestone officials said they hadn't determined what caused the accidents. Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that in some cases, the tires' treads separated, while in others their sidewalls failed. The agency said Firestone has stopped making the tires.

The tires in question are Steeltex Radial AT, size LT-265/75R16-Load Range D, and were made between March 1999 and December 2002 at a plant in Joliette, Quebec. The tire maker said that it still is gathering information about the accidents, but said that in one, the vehicle in question was towing a 40-foot recreational vehicle.