NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 20, 2000—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., attempting to restore consumer confidence in the Firestone brand following the industry´s second-largest tire recall, will undertake changes in quality assurance, tire enhancements, and production procedures, the company said Dec. 19.
The planned changes resulted from the recommendations of a specially appointed review team composed of company specialists employed in technical, engineering and safety areas, the Nashville-based tire maker said in a Dec 19 announcement.
BFS President, Chairman and CEO John T. Lampe said the on-going Firestone tire recall has demonstrated "a clear need to redouble our efforts to become the recognized industry leader in tire safety. The review team´s efforts gave us the road map to changes and improvements to achieve that goal."
Beginning in January, a quality subcommittee composed of the top managers from the sales technical service and the quality assurance departments will meet regularly and report directly to Mr. Lampe, the company said.
The group will gather, review and analyze market quality data. Meanwhile, BFS will establish an enhanced safety "early warning" system derived from internal adjustment and claims data and public data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
BFS said it will set up a system to facilitate quick detection of anomalies in each type of data and establish a quick response structure.
The company said it also has begun to track original equipment fitments for exported vehicles and is creating a global quality information network to exchange information among its global affiliates and to develop a system for early problem detection.
BFS tire development specialists also are establishing global standards for production processes and systems so that enhancements and improvements can be implemented and maintained throughout the Bridgestone Group worldwide.
The company said it is implementing changes in a number of aspects of tire construction and design, giving top priority to sport-utility vehicle and light-truck tires, which are subject to heavy loads and are increasingly capable of higher speeds.
BFS said it will continue upgrading its production facilities and processes and has earmarked approximately $50 million in additional capital outlays in 2001 for further quality improvements and changes in product specifications.