Bridgestone/Firestone Recall Effort Reaches Important Milestone
29 November 2000Bridgestone/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.