WASHINGTON (June 19, 2001)—One of the tires used as replacements by Ford Motor Co. for the Firestone Wilderness AT tires has a worse claims record than the Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. tire, congressmen heard during a joint House subcommittee hearing.
The unidentified tire had a claim rate of 124 per million, compared with 15 per million for the Wilderness AT tire, according to data supplied by congressional investigators. Ford CEO Jacques Nasser said he is willing to discuss the data with Rep. Billy Tauzin, R.-La., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but “in the end we always go back to field data.”
Release of the information caused an uproar at the hearing, when Rep. John Dingle, D-Mich., complained he had not been given a copy of the data or the analysis before the hearing, and learned about it in the media.
The hearing is intended to provide evidence on whether the design of the Ford Explorer contributed to the tread-separation accidents which have killed 203, according to the latest statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.