WASHINGTON (Sept. 13, 2001) — Ford Motor Co. has asked the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to postpone crash testing of the 2002 Ford Explorer until the auto maker can make structural changes to the sport-utility vehicle, the IIHS has confirmed.
Ford decided to alter the design of the new Explorer after two of its trucks received “poor” or “marginal” ratings in IIHS crash tests. The Explorer has come under intense media scrutiny since the recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires that were mostly original equipment on the Explorer. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. claims design deficiencies in the Explorer helped lead to the tire failures, whereas Ford claims the tires alone were at fault.
A Ford spokeswoman told Reuters that the company planned to make some structural changes after discovering, during a review process, “some ways to make some improvements,” though she declined to specify the changes or the results of any internal crash tests on the vehicle.