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Ford's Response to Comments on the Firestone Tread Separation

28 August 2000

Ford's Response to Published Comments on the Firestone Tread Separation Issue Attributed to INDECU (Venezuelan Consumer Defense Institute)
    DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 25 The following statement is
attributable to Helen Petrauskas, Ford vice president -
Environmental and Safety Engineering:

    We have met with INDECU and will continue to meet with this consumer
protection agency in Venezuela to ensure the agency has a complete and correct
understanding of the Firestone tire tread separation issue.  It is absolutely
incorrect to assert that the design of the Explorer is contributing, in any
way, to this serious safety problem.  We have made stiffer shock absorbers
available to our customers in Venezuela to address ride quality complaints
related to washboard road surfaces.
    These are two completely separate issues: the tread separation safety
concern, which Ford has addressed beginning in May with the announcement of
our tire replacement program for all owners of Ford vehicles with Firestone
tires; and a customer satisfaction issue related to high speed driving on
rough road surfaces.
    Also, the suggestion that Ford promised to lower the electronically-
governed top speed of the Ford Explorer to match the speed rating of some
Firestone tires, is incorrect.  We have no knowledge of Firestone requesting a
lower top speed for the vehicle.  Firestone was contracted to supply tires
with a speed rating appropriate for the vehicle's electronically governed top
speed.