TOKYO (Sept. 12, 2000)—Ford Motor Co. may share blame with Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. for the problems with 6.5 million Firestone tires, Bridgestone Corp. President Yoichiro Kaizaki told the Associated Press today.
"There were a lot of accidents on Fords," Mr. Kaizaki said in his first press conference since the recall was announced Aug. 9. "The accident rate for other cars is dramatically lower."
He declined to answer, however, when asked if Ford was responsible for the problems. Mr. Kaizaki also said there is no evidence of defects in the recalled tires, though he added that Bridgestone should have overseen quality control more closely at its U.S. subsidiary.
"We didn´t recall the tires because we found a defect that caused the accidents," he said. "We decided to conscientiously recall the tires having put a top priority on consumer safety."
Rumors have flown for the last few days that Bridgestone and BFS will take a more active stand in defending their product record in the face of harsh criticism by Ford CEO Jacques Nasser. Officials of Ford and BFS could not be reached for comment.