WASHINGTON (Sept. 1, 2000)—INDECU, Venezuela´s consumer protection agency, has recommended that the Venezuelan government file criminal charges against Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. for allegedly suppressing information about defects in Firestone Wilderness tires made in Venezuela.
An INDECU investigator blamed the Wilderness tires installed on Ford Explorers for 46 deaths in Venezuela, saying the tires and the vehicle design made "a deadly combination."
In a media conference call shortly after the INDECU announcement, Ford CEO Jacques Nasser called the Venezuelan situation "a tire issue, not a vehicle issue," and said his company had "an extremely difficult and disappointing relationship" with BFS which it is "now taking one day at a time."
A BFS spokeswoman said in a separate conference call that the company "will be in touch with Ford and INDECU to resolve these issues." BFS Executive Vice President John Lampe added, "We want to do everything we can to continue our long-term relationship with Ford."