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Week of September 25, 2000


 

FORD RESUMES PRODUCTION
NHTSA EXPANDS INVESTIGATION
FORD AND FIRESTONE CLASH
HOUSE HEARING GRILLS FORD, FIRESTONE
ANOTHER HEADACHE FOR BRIDGESTONE
CONTINENTAL RECALLS 160,000 TIRES
SECOND TIRE RECALL HURTS FORD’S IMAGE
NHTSA INVESTIGATES FORD STEERING
FORD-DAEWOO DEAL COLLAPSES
DAEWOO OPEN FOR BID AGAIN
MITSUBISHI ACCUSED OF FAKING SALES NUMBERS
DC COURTING CHINESE COMPANIES
SATURN PAYING EMPLOYEES TO LEAVE
DC MIGHT BRING SMART TO U.S.
BRAZILIAN GOLFS RECALLED

 

 

FORD RESUMES PRODUCTION Ford Motor Company resumed production at three of its light-truck assembly plants that had been held idle for three weeks. Over the idle time, Ford says it rerouted more than 100,000 tires toward recall replacement rather than production. The plants that have been held idle normally produce Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickups and Ford Explorer SUVs. Ford says that the shutdown cost 23,500 Rangers and 15,000 Explorers. Most of the Ranger output can be made up, although Explorer production won't be made up until sometime next year.

 

NHTSA EXPANDS INVESTIGATION The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded its probe of Firestone tires to include 47 million similar-design tires made by the tiremaker since 1991, in addition to the 6.5 million already recalled, reports USA Today. The agency also plans to upgrade its investigation of the matter to include its own engineering analysis. Of the similar-model tires, some were sold under different brand names. If the NHTSA's engineering analysis shows the other tires to be defective by design or production methods, then the agency would ask that all 47 million tires be recalled.

 

FORD AND FIRESTONE CLASH Ford and Firestone have once again exchanged criticisms regarding the recent Firestone tire recall. According to the Detroit News, Ford released a report indicating that Ford Explorers equipped with Firestone tires were about ten times as likely to be involved in a fatal rollover crash than those Explorers equipped with Goodyear tires. Firestone's vice president, John Lampe, responded by criticizing Ford's choice to recommend a lower pressure for the tires. Ford says that both Goodyear and Firestone tires were made to the same specification, and yet there is such a different safety record between the two.

 

HOUSE HEARING GRILLS FORD, FIRESTONE U.S. Representative Billy Tauzin, the leader of the latest House Commerce subcommittee hearing looking into last month's recall of 6.5 million tires, accused both Ford and Firestone of misleading the public. The House panel looked into reasons why Ford used a converted F-150 pickup to test handling characteristics with the tires, and also requested more missing documents from the automaker. Ford had, earlier in the recall, said that the tire tests had been done on an Explorer. The panel concluded that no one had ever conducted high-speed tests of the Explorer with the Firestone tires inflated to 26 psi as advised. Panel members questioned testing practices of Firestone, while Firestone turned the table to Ford and again said that it had recommended higher pressures for the tires than those advised by Ford. The committee then refocused the attention to Firestone by referring to tests the tiremaker had conducted that indicated a high failure rate in randomly selected tires. Failure of the tires is now linked to 101 deaths, and the NHTSA has since expanded the investigation to about 47 million tires.


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