WASHINGTON (Aug. 9, 2000)—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. voluntarily will recall 6.5 million Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires—size P235/75R15 only—being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for alledged tread separations.
The tires will be replaced free of charge to consumers regardless of mileage, Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone said in a joint press conference this morning in Washington.
Replacements will be carried out by independent Firestone dealerships, Firestone company-owned stores as well as Ford auto dealerships.
Company officials said the recall will be conducted in three phases, the first in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, where 80 percent of the accidents under investigation took place.
Bridgestone/Firestone said all of the Wilderness tires involved—a total of 2.7 million—were produced at the company´s Decatur, Ill., plant and bear the "VD" code designation assigned to that facility. Those made in other Firestone plants are not being recalled.
Bridgestone/Firestone said it has found no design or manufacturing reason for the failures, and outside factors, such as underinflation, caused most of the problems the company has investigated. Most of the tires being recalled were installed as original equipment on Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers.