AKRON-In the wake of the breakup of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Ford Motor Co., Goodyear and Continental Tire North America Inc. have come forth with full-page newspaper advertisements touting the safety of their respective products.
Goodyear admits its ad was in response to the recent recall of Firestone tires issued by Ford, while Continental said the timing of its ad was coincidental.
The Goodyear ad, which began appearing May 26 in several newspapers throughout the country, made no specific reference to either company or recent recalls of Firestone tires, but the message comes through loud and clear.
In large type, the ad reads ``Not everybody had to think about their tires this week,'' an allusion to the owners of 13 million Firestone Wilderness AT tires being replaced by Ford.
``As far as a direct response, sure it was recall-related,'' a Goodyear spokesman said.
The Continental spot, which showed up less than a week after the first Goodyear ads, pictures a candy roll with the inscription ``LIFESAFE ...'' The word ends where the roll's label is torn open to reveal the ``candy,'' which comes in the form of four Continental tires. Also on the label is ``FOUR FAVORITES,'' in place of the ``FIVE FLAVORS,'' on the mimicked Lifesavers roll.
A Continental Tire spokeswoman said the ad was not in response to the recall, but rather ``one of a series that has been planned as part of an image-building project.''
The Goodyear spokesman explained that the ad had a dual purpose. First, Goodyear wanted to clear up what the spokesman termed ``continued consumer confusion'' surrounding the recall issue; second, it wanted to deliver a vote of confidence to employees company-wide.
``Our industry has been attacked on many fronts when it comes to issues of quality,'' he said. ``That takes its toll on associates of all companies. From our perspective, it's important for them to know they're doing a good job.''
As for the consumer end, he said Goodyear wanted to eliminate any existing belief that Goodyear was involved in the recall. He said it would be easy for consumers to be confused in an instance such as this, particularly since many Ford Explorers are also shod with Goodyear tires.
Saying the ads are part of a proactive measure, the company spokesman said Goodyear believed it needed to address the situation, to ``differentiate that it wasn't Goodyear-related and move on. This is the ad we're going to have associated with the recall, and that's it,'' he said.
The tire pictured in the Goodyear ad is a Wrangler RT/S light truck tire. The spokesman said original layouts for the ad included an Aquatred tire. He said the matter was discussed, and Goodyear chose to picture a Wrangler.
The ad appeared in several major metropolitan daily newspapers, he said. Among them were USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Akron Beacon Journal and cities in which Goodyear has plants.
Ford also has placed full-page ads in newspapers explaining, ``Why we are replacing 13 million Firestone tires,'' which detail the auto maker's reasoning for the recall, along with explaining how to replace Firestone Wilderness AT tires.
In the ad, Ford said, ``Our analysis of real-world data, information from the federal government and lab testing indicate that some of the Firestone Wilderness AT tires not covered by last year's recall could, at some time in the future, experience increased failure rates.
``Many of the Firestone Wilderness AT tires on the road today appear to perform substantially better than the tires recalled last year; however, we believe it is necessary to take the precautionary measure of replacing all Firestone Wilderness AT tires on our customers' vehicles.''
The ad concludes with the claim that, ``Every decision made by this company is driven by one simple fact: Customer safety is-and always will be-our No. 1 priority.''