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Firestone Initiates Safety Recall

3 January 2001

Firestone Initiates Safety Recall of Limited Number Of P265/70R16 Wilderness LE Tires Manufactured in Cuernavaca, Mexico
           *  Recall limited to approximately 8,000 tires produced
                          the week of April 23, 2000
   *  Effort centered on retrieving about 150 tires made on April 24, 2000
   *  Reenergized quality focus alerted company to need for limited recall

    NASHVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 2 Firestone today announced that it
is initiating a voluntary recall of approximately 8,000 tires produced during
the week of April 23, 2000, at its Cuernavaca, Mexico plant in order to ensure
the recovery of about 150 tires made on April 24.  Examinations conducted on
some of the April 24-produced tires found significantly lower adhesion in the
belt area rubber as a result of the unintentional inclusion of a small portion
of non-specified rubber material in the #1 stabilizer belt (the steel belt
closest to the inside of the tire).  A thorough assessment of a significant
sample of tires manufactured during the week of April 23, 2000, and the weeks
before and after, showed that the problem was confined to a small batch of
tires produced in the Cuernavaca plant on April 24.  The company is not aware
of any claims for property damage or injury caused by the recalled tires.
    The recalled P265/70R16 Wilderness LE tires are identified by DOT #
V672WL11700 (black sidewall) and DOT #V672WL21700 (raised white letters); the
serial numbers can be found on the sidewall of the tire near the wheel rim.
Only the Wilderness LE tires in size P265/70R16 with these two DOT numbers are
subject to the recall and this action is unrelated to last August's recall.
The recalled tires may have been used on up to 4,700 model year 2000 GMC Yukon
XL 1500 series (as original equipment) and Chevrolet Suburban 1500 series (as
an optional tire choice) vehicles assembled in Silao, Mexico during late April
and early May 2000.
    Owners of the vehicles that have the suspect tires will be contacted
within a week to advise them of the recall.  In the meantime, owners of the
affected Yukon XLs and Suburbans can perform a simple process to find out if
their vehicles may have been fitted with the recalled tires (including the
spare tire).  Owners may check the first line of the placard on the driver's
side door to see if the vehicle was manufactured by General Motors de Mexico
in April or May 2000.  If the Yukon XL or Suburban was not built by GM de
Mexico during one of those months, the vehicle would not have had the recalled
tires fitted at the plant.  Owners of affected vehicles who would like
additional information can call Firestone's recall hotline at 1-800-465-1904.
    The affected tires were produced the week of April 23, 2000, and are being
recalled in immediate response to a specific problem identified in these tires
that was confirmed by a review of the company's warranty adjustment data.
    "As soon as we became aware of the deficiency in a small quantity of these
tires, we took immediate action. We found the problem is limited to an
extremely small number of tires, approximately 150, produced on a single day,
but we are recalling the entire week to help ensure that all these tires are
off the road," said John Lampe, president, chairman and CEO,
Bridgestone/Firestone. "We committed to our customers that we would change the
way we review our collected data and respond to product concerns -- an
enhanced early warning system -- to facilitate quick detection of anomalies
and establish a quick response system.  That system is working."
    "As we've said, we will work to regain the public's trust in the Firestone
tire brand, and a recall -- no matter how small -- impacts that effort.   But,
an important part of rebuilding that trust is proving to the public our
commitment to quickly identify problems, communicate that information fully
and promptly, and take the necessary actions to resolve the problems.   And
that's what we've done here," said Lampe. "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.  We have also taken corrective
action at the Cuernavaca plant to make sure that this type of error will not
occur again."
    Replacement tires are immediately available and the company urges
customers who are affected to have the tires replaced free of charge as soon
as possible.  Recalled tires can be replaced at no cost to the customer at
their local GMC or Chevrolet dealer or by visiting their local authorized
participating Firestone retailer.  For the location of the nearest Firestone
store, customers can call toll-free at 1-800-465-1904.  To find the nearest
GMC or Chevrolet dealer, customers should call the GM tire safety hotline at
1-866-522-0505, the Chevrolet hotline at 1-800-222-1020 or the GMC hotline at
    In a related action, Firestone also today announced that it will be
conducting a campaign in Mexico to capture approximately 500 of the recalled
P265/70R16 Wilderness LE tires, which may have been released to the Mexican
replacement tire market.  While there is no evidence that any tires exhibiting
the deficiency are in the Mexican market, the company is instituting an action
to retrieve all P265/70R16 tires with the same DOT numbers as those recalled
in the United States in the interest of driver safety and an abundance of
caution.  None of these tires in the Mexican market is linked to any personal
injury or property damage claims, nor has the company received reports of any
related warranty adjustments.