WASHINGTON (May 22, 2001)–In most weeks, this would be a big recall.
Only a few days before announcing the recall of up to 13 million Firestone Wilderness AT tires, Ford Motor Co. said it would replace the Goodyear and Michelin tires on more than 52,000 Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers, model year 2002, because the tires may have been damaged by cuts on the assembly line.
Between 9 and 10 percent of the tires on the 45,510 Explorers and 7,219 Mountaineers received cuts from five to nine inches long and about a half-inch deep in the tread area, according to Ford. All of the vehicles were manufactured and all tires installed at the Ford facility in Louisville, Ky.
The cuts were cosmetic in nature and posed no immediate safety concerns, according to Ford. A spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the agency received no notification letter on the tire replacements because the auto maker classified them as a customer satisfaction program, rather than a recall.
“We have not examined the tires, but Ford has decided they want to do this,” a Goodyear spokesman said. He estimated that as many as 15,000 Goodyear tires may have been involved, of which 2,100 may actually have had cuts.