NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 21, 2001) – Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is terminating its almost 100-year business relationship with the Ford Motor Co. and will not enter into any new tire sales agreements in the Americas with the auto maker starting today.
The move follows the recall last August of 6.5 million Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT light truck tires, many of which were original equipment on Ford Explorers.
In a letter to Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, BFS Chairman John T. Lampe said: "Business relationships, like personal ones, are built upon trust and mutual respect. We have come to the conclusion that we can no longer supply tires to Ford since the basic foundation of our relationship has been seriously eroded.
"This is not a decision we make lightly after almost 100 years of history. But, we must look to the future and the best interests of our company, our employees and our other customers.
"Our analysis suggests there is a significant safety concern with a substantial segment of Ford Explorers. We have made your staff aware of our concerns," Mr. Lampe told Mr. Nasser. "They have steadfastly refused to acknowledge those concerns.
"We have always said that in order to insure the safety of the driving public, it is crucial that there be a true sharing of information concerning the vehicle as well as the tires. You (Ford) are not willing to do that," Mr. Lampe continued.
In the letter, Mr. Lampe told the Ford executive that BFS believes the auto maker is "attempting to divert scrutiny of your vehicle by casting doubt on the quality of Firestone tires. The tires are safe, and as we have said before, when we have a problem, we will acknowledge that problem and fix it. We expect you to do the same," Mr. Lampe said.