WASHINGTON (June 20, 2001)—Seven tire models Ford Motor Co. is using to replace Firestone Wilderness AT tires have higher tread separation claims rates than the tires they're replacing, according to a spokesman at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Committee staff members identified 24 tires on sport-utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans that have a claims rate higher than the five per million Ford set as its benchmark rate for recalling the Wilderness tires, a committee spokesman said. Seven of those tires are on Ford's approved list for Wilderness replacements.
The spokesman identified two of the tires based on information provided for the committee by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These were the Goodyear Wrangler HT, size P235/75R15, which are original equipment on the Ford F150 pickup truck, Expedition and Bronco; and the General Grabber APXL, size P235/75R15, whose OE fitments were not available from the committee.
Another model—with a claims rate of 124.4 per million—was not identified by the committee because it came from a tire maker's confidential submission. At the request of the committee's chairman, Rep. Billy Tauzin, R.-La., NHTSA promised to analyze the committee's claims data in the light of other evidence, and promised to get back to the committee as early as this afternoon.