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Firestone Initiates Voluntary Recall of Limited Number of P195/65R15 FR690 Tires

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Sept. 10, 2002--Firestone today announced that it is initiating a voluntary recall of 18,912 tires produced at its Wilson, North Carolina plant in order to ensure the recovery of 890 tires manufactured over a four-day period beginning April 12. There are no claims for property damage or injury caused by the recalled tires, or any of the tires in this line and size.
    The recalled Firestone FR690 tires in size P195/65R15 are identified by DOT no. W2C6T001402 and DOT no. W2C6T001502. Since the affected tires from April 12 through 15 could be marked with serial numbers indicating that they had been manufactured during either the fourteenth or fifteenth week of production in 2002, both serial weeks are being recalled. The recalled tires may have been used on 2003 model year Toyota Corolla S and LE vehicles assembled from mid-April through early September 2002.
    Firestone will contact owners of the vehicles that may have the recalled tires by mail within the next several weeks. In the meantime, owners of 2003 model year Toyota Corolla S and LE vehicles can check to find out if their car is fitted with the recalled tires by looking for the DOT number on the sidewall of the tire near the wheel rim which is, in most cases, visible on the outboard side of the mounted tires.
    Replacement tires will be available at Firestone Tire and Service Centers and TiresPlus locations throughout the United States. Owners who would like additional information or help in locating their nearest Firestone Tire & Service Center or TiresPlus outlet can call Firestone's consumer affairs hotline at 1-800-367-3872. Additional information is also available on the company's Web site at
    Firestone's analysis and a review of the manufacturing process on April 12 through 15, 2002 showed that a piece of equipment was not functioning correctly leading to localized, intermittent pockets of air becoming trapped between the tread and the tread under-cushion (a rubber layer between the tire tread and the steel belts of the tire) in a small percentage of the tires manufactured during that period. This condition in a tire could cause a raised tread block and cause a "helicopter" type noise while driving. Continued use of a tire with this condition may lead to a small, localized "chunk out" of tread materials. The company promptly identified and corrected the mechanical problem and believing that all tires produced during the period had been properly re-inspected, shipped the tires from the plant warehouse.
    In late August 2002 a tire from the affected lot was returned to Firestone by Toyota due to a customer complaint about noise. After examining the tire and reviewing its own records, Firestone determined that 890 of the 18,912 tires manufactured during the two-week period had not been properly processed for additional inspection. In the interest of public safety, Firestone is recalling the full production of both weeks to capture any of the 890 tires that may contain the condition.
    "Safety is our highest priority," Steve Brooks, Vice President of Quality Assurance for Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire said. "Our enhanced early warning system changed the way we review our collected data to facilitate quick detection of anomalies and a quick response to product concerns."
    Brooks continued, "We take full responsibility for each and every tire we make, and we are committed to getting any tire with a problem off the road and replaced quickly. In order to ensure that this type of error will not occur again, we have implemented additional quality, inspection and control procedures at the Wilson plant."

    Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. BFNT develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and associate and private brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, agriculture and other tires to its customers in North America.