Crash victim calls for wider recall
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas—A Mexican man who lost several members of his family in the crash of a General Motors Corp. sports-utility vehicle is calling on Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. to expand its 6.5-million tire recall to include tires made in Mexico.
Jose Hernandez is suing GM and BFS over the Aug. 3, 2000, crash of a GM Silverado near Guadalajara, which occurred when a rear Firestone FR480 tire on the vehicle experienced tread separation and caused the SUV to roll over.
Seven people, including members of the Hernandez family, were killed, and two others were seriously injured. BFS recently recalled 8,000 tires made in its Cuernavaca, Mexico, plant, but that is "a drop in the bucket" compared with the number that should be recalled, according to a press release from Doug Allison, a Corpus Christi attorney representing Mr. Hernandez.
In a statement, BFS said, "It is hard to find words to express our sadness over the accident," but added that "a single accident cannot be taken as proof that an entire line of tires should be recalled."
TANA creates `D2D' network
RESTON, Va.—The Tire Association of North America has introduced a Dealer-to-Dealer (D2D) Networking Program to help tire dealers exchange marketing, financial and management ideas that can boost profitability.
Dealers signing up for the D2D Program are assigned a "partner" business—one similar in size and services—located in another part of the country.
The partner dealers can compare notes on each other's businesses and exchange information on other common challenges they face. The program matches similar businesses not in direct competition with each other.
Participants will be invited to meet their partners face-to-face at TANA's Gala Reception, Oct. 30, 2001 in Las Vegas.
BFS curtails tire production
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has cut production at two tire plants to curtail excess inventory.
BFS eliminated one work day from the week at its Decatur, Ill., factory to reduce the number of man-hours worked and the plant's weekly production.
The tire maker also suspended bias tire production on Sundays at its off-the-road tire plant in Bloomington, Ill., for a maximum of 20 weeks and will temporarily lay off 21 workers.
About 400 employees will lose one 12-hour shift every two weeks but will receive up to 80 percent of their usual wages during the downtime, BFS said.
NHTSA probes Ford, Volkswagen
WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded its investigation of 926,000 Ford Windstar minivans to an engineering analysis after receiving reports that a spring in the suspension system can break and puncture a tire.
The agency is probing Windstars made from 1995-98. It has gathered 199 complaints of the front suspension coil breaking and causing tire punctures at highway speeds. No crashes, injuries or fatalities have been reported, a spokesman said.
The agency also is investigating Volkswagen Jettas and Passats—model years 1993-2000—after receiving 31 complaints that the fuel tanks can be punctured from right rear tire blowouts. No reports of deaths or injuries have been filed with NHTSA.
Goodyear gains truck tire customers
AKRON—Goodyear has agreed to provide new truck tires and Next-Tred retreads for Pro Stop Truck Service Inc.
Under the agreement, Pro Stop will offer Goodyear, Kelly and Steelmark as its primary brands.
Pro Stop is the service provider for corporate fleet partners, Dart Transit and Fleetline, which combined account for 6,000 trailers and 2,500 owner/operators.
Callahan joins TB's editorial staff
AKRON—Jennifer Callahan joined the Tire Business staff as a reporter Feb. 5.
A native of North Royalton, Ohio, she previously worked for The Fayetteville Observer, a daily newspaper in Fayetteville, N.C., for four years. There, Ms. Callahan wrote a weekly column, reported on spot news stories and covered general assignments.
She can be reached at (330) 865-6129 or at jcallahan @crain.com.