NHTSA extends Ford winch probe WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded its investigation of alleged spare tire winch failure on 1991-94 Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicles.
The investigation is now an engineering analysis, one step up from the preliminary evaluation begun Nov. 30.
Ford solved the problem in May 1994 when, after durability testing, it changed the winch from a galvanized steel cable to a four-millimeter stainless steel cable, according to the agency. However, approximately 1.3 million Explorers with the old galvanized cable remain on the road.
NHTSA knows of 106 incidents in which motorists complained that the galvanized cable failed, causing the spare tire to drop from its rear storage well.
One of these incidents resulted in a collision, and on six other occasions the runaway tires hit following vehicles and damaged them, the agency said.
Goodyear to cut plant's capacity
BIRMINGHAM, England—Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe B.V. will phase out production of car and light truck tires at its Birmingham plant by year-end and move the capacity for nearly 3 million tires a year to other European plants.
The move will eliminate 600 jobs at the 84-year-old factory Goodyear acquired last year in its global alliance with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.
Production of motorcycle and racing tires will continue at the scaled-down facility, the company said.
However, trade unions representing workers at the Birmingham plant claim Goodyear reneged on earlier promises to keep car and light truck tire production at the plant. Union officials claim they received company commitments in January—when Goodyear an-nounced it would phase out production of truck tires and molds and eliminate 650 jobs.
Deadline nears for 'Humanitarian'
AKRON—The July 31 deadline is approaching for submitting nominations for Tire Business' seventh annual Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award.
The award honors an independent tire dealer who has made a difference in his or her community through charitable and/or civic contributions.
The winner will receive a bronze medal and a $1,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice during the Tire Association of America/Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas, Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
To submit an entry, use the form on page 25 of this issue or call Tire Business: (330) 865-6148.
Cumberland taps Fiedler as mayor
CUMBERLAND, Md.—Lee Fiedler, retired president of Kelly-Springfield Tire Co., now has a new executive office as mayor of the tire maker's former headquarters town.
Mr. Fiedler was elected mayor of Cumberland May 16 by a three-to-one margin over opponent Ronald E. Hampton Jr. The vote was 3,198 to 1,047.
Mr. Fiedler said lowering tax rates and promoting economic development will be his priorities as mayor.
"Any of the rubber companies who want to come here, I'll work with them personally," he said. Goodyear, Kelly-Springfield's parent firm, has moved Kelly from its home in Cumberland to Goodyear headquarters in Akron.
Michelin signs 38th franchisee
GREENVILLE, S.C.—Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. has added Ozarko Tire Center Inc. to its retread franchise network.
The new franchisee brings MRTI's total number of franchises in North America to 38. The company plans to have 50 franchisees by year-end, Michelin said.
Ozarko Tire, based in West Plains, Mo., operates a single retread facility. The dealership, a former Bandag retreader, will use MRTI's Pre-Mold system.
Ozarko Tire owner Gary McGinnis could not be reached for comment.
BFS sells tires with giveaway
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridge-stone/Firestone Inc. is holding a special sales promotion for consumers who buy a set of tires from one of three select Firestone lines from now until June 18.
Tire buyers will receive a certificate for their choice of a Firehawk Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Champion's jacket or tickets to practice and qualifyings sessions for the Target Grand Prix, to be held July 28-30 at the Chicago Motor Speedway.
Tires included in the promotion are the Firestone Firehawk SS20, the Firehawk SH30 and the Firehawk SZ50EP.