NASHVILLE, Tenn.(July 19, 2001)—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. said it will use "every step available" to avoid recalling more Firestone Wilderness AT tires if ordered to do so by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NHTSA indicated to Bridgestone/Firestone representatives in a meeting July 19 it may seek a wider recall of the Wilderness AT tires that the company recalled last year.
BFS CEO and President John Lampe, in a telephone press conference later the same day, said the agency did not specify the models, sizes or how many tires might be involved. He suggested, however, that those sizes might be P235/75R15 and P255/70R16 Wilderness ATs, but indicated that was merely an assumption.
Mr. Lampe said such a request by NHTSA would be unfounded based on Bridgestone/Firestone´s research, and that the company will defend itself in the public forum, and in the courts, if necessary.
"Believe me, we´re going to avail ourselves of any and all steps in this process to prove that our tires are safe tires," Mr. Lampe said. "If that means public hearings where we will have a forum to present our case, if that includes litigation, we´re going to take advantage of every step to make sure people know that our tires are safe."
He reiterated the company´s contention that the Ford Explorer is inherently susceptible to rollovers in the event of tread separation, regardless of tire brand.