WASHINGTON (June 13, 2001)—Spokesmen for Ford Motor Co. have told staffers at the House Energy and Commerce Committee that their boss, Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, doesn't want to testify on the same panel as Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. CEO John T. Lampe at a committee hearing June 19.
Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., chairman of the committee, wants to hear testimony on whether the design of the Ford Explorer contributed to the Firestone tire tread separation accidents that killed 174 people on U.S. highways.
Mr. Nasser's refusal to appear with Mr. Lampe is the most public token so far of the intense personal antagonism between the two executives. Mr. Lampe announced May 21 that BFS would no longer supply original equipment tires to Ford, ending a 96-year corporate relationship. The next day, Mr. Nasser announced that it was unilaterally recalling 13 million Firestone Wilderness AT tires on top of the 6.5 million Wilderness, ATX and ATX II tires that BFS recalled last August.