TROY, Mich.—In a speech at an automotive safety conference in Troy, Goodyear executive Joseph M. Gingo tried to do some repair work on the tire industry's suffering reputation.
The Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. recall that began last August has put the entire industry under a microscope, said Mr. Gingo, Goodyear senior vice president of technology and global products planning.
"And that is exactly the reason why I am proud to have the opportunity to talk about our industry and its commitment to safety now and in the future—based on facts, not fearful rhetoric," he told attendees of the second annual Society of Plastics Engineers' Global Automotive Safety Conference Feb. 5.
"Despite fears and rhetoric to the contrary, the good news is that tires—the workhorse of our mobile society—are extremely safe."
Industry players have made major strides in tire performance and durability, he said, and new scientific breakthroughs could offer greater tire safety in the future.
He cited Goodyear's pioneering work in run-flat tires and tire pressure warning devices and its historic teaming last June with Group Michelin to share run-flat technologies and establish them as the industry standard.
In the quest to make tires as safe as possible, Mr. Gingo said Goodyear is looking beyond tires to "a corner strategy" of providing the best wheel-end solution for run-flats and conventional tires.
On the other hand, the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act approved by Congress last fall requires development of several standards, including one regarding new cars and dashboard tire pressure sensors.
"We are really going to develop tough tire standards," Bill Walsh, associate administrator for plans and policy at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said during another speech at the conference. "Everybody's going to be shocked at how tough our tire standards will be."