WASHINGTON (June 25, 2001)—Just because a tire has a high claims rate doesn't mean it's defective, Ford Motor Co. and Goodyear said regarding claims data released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The committee found that 11 of the tire models used by Ford to replace 13 million Firestone Wilderness AT tires—including at least one Goodyear Wrangler—had tread separation claims rates higher than Ford's benchmark figure of five per million.
“Claims rate is only one aspect of the analysis of Firestone tread separation failures,” said Sue Cischke, Ford vice president-Environmental and Safety Engineering, in a prepared statement.
In a separate statement, Goodyear said, “Regardless of what the parts-per-million claims data numbers are, they cannot and should not be correlated directly with the word `defect'…. The applicable statistic to be considered is safety-oriented results, not parts-per-million claims.”
Other organizations, including the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the committee itself, have also warned against considering the claims data in isolation.