Ford scrambles to find replacements for recalled Firestones
DETROIT (AP) – Ford Motor Co. scrambled on Wednesday to line up replacement tires for the 13 million Firestones it recalled a day earlier.
Jacques Nasser, Ford president and chief executive, said the automaker is talking with Goodyear, Continental and Michelin about buying tires from them.
Nasser said Ford was caught off guard by a letter Monday from Bridgestone/Firestone severing the 95-year relationship between the two companies.
”For that reason, we really haven’t had a chance to develop a detailed plan in terms of migrating out of Firestone tires,” Nasser said.
The letter was sent to Nasser following a meeting at Bridgestone/Firestone’s Nashville, Tenn., headquarters Monday, where Ford officials presented data suggesting safety problems with Wilderness AT tires.
Last summer, the tiremaker recalled 6.5 million 15-inch Wilderness AT, ATX and ATX II tires, most of them on Ford Explorers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has linked at least 170 deaths and more than 700 injuries to the tires. In some cases the Ford vehicles rolled over after the tires suddenly lost their tread.
Nasser announced Tuesday that Ford would unilaterally replace 13 million Wilderness AT tires that were not originally recalled. Ford will spend up to $3 billion to do so.
Owners of certain Ford sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks will receive notices in the mail outlining the process.
Ford dealers will make the switch for free, while those customers buying replacements at authorized dealers will be reimbursed either $110 or $130, depending on the size of the tire.
On the Net:
Ford replacement program: http://fordfirestonewildernessatprogram.ford.com/
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