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Bridgestone/Firestone Recall Effort Reaches Important Milestone

29 November 2000

Bridgestone/Firestone Recall Effort Reaches Important Milestone, Waiting Lists Ending
    NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 28 Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.
announced today that it has provided consumers with an estimated 5.5 million
tires in less than four months under its safety recall of P235/75R15 Radial
ATX, ATXII and certain P235/75R15 Wilderness AT tires.  The company also
announced that there is now sufficient supply of replacement tires to satisfy
the needs of remaining recall customers.  Finally, with the exception of some
smaller markets mainly in the midwest and upper northeast, waiting lists for
Firestone replacement tires have been eliminated.
    "This remarkable achievement underscores the commitment all of us at
Bridgestone/Firestone have to regaining the public's full confidence," said
John T. Lampe, Chairman and CEO.  "When we initiated this effort in August,
everyone believed it might take at least a year to reach this point.  But
13,000 Firestone dealers, thousands and thousands of Bridgestone/Firestone
employees, along with our associates at the Ford Motor Company, have worked
hard to do the job faster than anyone believed possible."
    "We have more than an adequate supply of Firestone and Bridgestone
replacement tires," said Lampe. "There are some independent dealers,
predominately in smaller markets, that don't have the physical capacity to
install replacement tires as rapidly as we would prefer.  In those areas we
are working with our dealer network to accommodate those customers."
    No major automotive recall has achieved such significant results in so
short a period.  The extraordinary actions Bridgestone/Firestone took to meet
this challenge included dramatically increasing the production of replacement
tires at its North American plants and airlifting hundreds of thousands of
tires from Japan.  Bridgestone/Firestone also gave consumers the option of
replacing their Firestone tires with competing brands and reimbursing them up
to $100 per tire for the purchase of competitors' brands at competing outlets,
both unprecedented steps intended to speed the recall.
    Earlier this month, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA), Dr. Sue Bailey, was quoted in news media accounts as
describing the Firestone recall as "a phenomenal effort" on the part of the
company.
    "My personal mission is to restore confidence in the Firestone brand.  The
first step on that path has been to replace the recalled tires quickly and
efficiently.  The next step is to determine the root causes of the problems
that led to the recall," Lampe said.
    The company has assembled a special team to try to determine what may have
caused tread separations in a small number of the recalled tires.  The company
also has hired Dr. Sanjay Govindjee, an independent expert who is working
separately from the company on another study of tread separation issues.
    Lampe said he hopes and expects the company's special team will complete
its investigation before the end of the year.
    In addition to announcing the progress of the recall, Lampe also urged
consumers who have not yet replaced recalled tires to visit their local
Firestone retailer for free replacement.
    Anyone who still needs help in finding replacement tires can call the
Firestone recall hotline toll-free at 800-465-1904.
    Although some consumers who opt to replace recalled Firestone tires with
other brands may still experience delays, there is a strong supply of both
Bridgestone and Firestone brand tires in the P235/75R15 size more than
sufficient to address the recall needs of all remaining consumers.
    "Our customers have been extremely supportive throughout this process and
I want them to know that we take seriously our responsibilities to every one
of them.  That's why we initiated this recall," Lampe added.