AKRON (Feb. 4, 2002) — Goodyear is voluntarily replacing 200,000 Load Range E tires in a move to gain consumer conference and end a government investigation of the tires.
Goodyear will replace tires sized LT245/75R16 used on 1996 to 2000 model year 15-passenger vans and ambulances made by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler Inc.
A Goodyear spokesman said the company had already finalized details of the replacement program with GM, Ford and D/C, as well as with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Goodyear makes more than 250 different sizes, types and brands of Load Range E tires, of which 51 brands, associate brands and private brands will be involved in the replacement campaign, according to the spokesman. “We're not including tires made in 2001 or later, because in 2001 all our construction was corrected to a more durable design,” he said.
NHTSA began a preliminary evaluation of the Load Range E tires Nov. 21, 2000, because of 37 reports it received of alleged tread separations that caused an estimated 15 deaths and 125 injuries.
An agency spokesman said NHTSA plans to announce the formal end of the investigation, probably the week of Feb. 4.
“Because the company stepped forward voluntarily to replace these tires, this gives us confidence this will end the problem,” he said. “Because they haven't replaced all the tires, we will continue to monitor the situation to make sure problems don't re-occur. But the investigation will be closed.”
Plaintiffs' attorneys have filed several class actions based on deaths and injuries caused by alleged failures of Goodyear Load Range E tires. “There's nothing active in terms of litigation at this point,” the Goodyear spokesman said.