Bridgestone to pay Ford $240 million in settlement
Reuters / October 12, 2005
DETROIT -- The U.S. arm of Japan's Bridgestone Corp. on Wednesday said it
will pay Ford Motor Co. $240 million to settle a longstanding dispute
between the companies over Ford's massive Firestone tire safety recall.
In 2001, in one of the biggest recalls in U.S. history, former Ford Chief
Executive Jacques Nasser said the automaker would spend $3 billion to
replace 13 million Firestone tires, installed mostly as original equipment
on the company's popular Explorer SUV.
Federal regulators have linked tread separation on the tires, and resulting
rollover accidents, to about 270 deaths and more than 800 injuries in the
Ford and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC both said the
settlement laid to rest all remaining matters between the two companies
stemming from the safety recall.
"We have revolved all of our differences with Bridgestone Firestone
amicably," Ford said in a statement.
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said some class-action lawsuits were still
pending against the second-largest U.S. automaker related to the Firestone
and Explorer safety dispute.
Vokes added that Ford expected the lawsuits to be dismissed but not as a
result of Bridgestone Firestone's settlement with Ford.
I always felt that the proverbial Explorer rear end vibration coupled with
Ford tire pressure label/trick to get a smoother ride contributed to the
tread separation from overheating at highway speeds.
I currently run Bridgestone Dueler APTs @ 40 lbs on my 96 EB AWD V8
Hmm. I'm thinking that "EB" stands for "Eddie Bauer"?
Anyway, here's my take on what happened. NOTE: I used to work for
Ford, but not in anything related to vehicle dynamics, and I have
absolutely no inside information on this.
We start with a tall, narrow vehicle with something of a propensity to
tip over. I seem to recall reading that Ford reduced the recommended
inflation pressure to reduce rollover risk by limiting maximum lateral
acceleration. Now consider the average American driver's approach to
maintenance: probably quite a few of those Explorers wer going around
with tire pressure at 15 psi or so, rather than the recommended
26. Add in tires that were somewhat more susceptible to tread
separation, and you have trouble. Especially since buyers gravitated
toward the vehicle for perceived crashworthiness; driver skill in
emergencies might not be the top goal of many of these people.
-Stephen H. Westin
Any information or opinions in this message are mine: they do not
Well you are ignoring the facts if that is what you believe. As was brought
out in Congressional testimony, Ford picked the pressure for safety reasons,
and Firestone admitted that even if the tires had been inflated to only 22
lbs, they SHOULD have been able to safetly support a properly loaded
Explorer. I do agree that if the tires had been inflated to a higher
pressure, and people properly loaded their Explorers, there would have been
fewer Firestone tire failures. I was lucky with my '96 Explorer, it came
with the decent quality Goodyear tires (which had a very low failure rate).
> I currently run Bridgestone Dueler APTs @ 40 lbs on my 96 EB AWD V8
Be careful you don't get the car sideways if you need to make an extreme
maneuver. If you are running P series tires, you are at least 10 lbs over
inflated and you are decreasing your safety.
The Firestone spare on my '99 developed severe cracking at numerous
places at the edge of the belt area and looked like a certain
candidate for tread separation. This spare was never on the ground so
inflation pressure, etc. was not a factor. The tires were simply
defective regardless of pressure. This only affected the spare in my
case because I had the Firestones replaced with Michelins before I
accepted delivery of it. I got a new spare at Ford's expense when
they announced the recall. The reason I had the Firestones replaced
on my new '99 is because of the vibration and shaking from the
Firestones on my '92. I replaced them with Michelins and never had
IMHO, this whole inflation pressure thing is an excuse to try to
explain the bad tires. Only question for me is why Ford stuck with
Firestones for so long. Maybe because Bill Ford's mother was a
Firestone (true). The Firestone and Ford families were very close for
generations, so will be interesting to see if Ford goes back to
Firestone now that the suit is settled.
On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 10:26:20 -0400, "C. E. White"
I bought a set of Firestones for another car back in the mid '80's. I
can't remember the exact details, but they started falling apart long
before they were worn out, which I had never seen tires do before, or
since. It was probably the same thing you saw with your spare- severe
cracking in the sidewall area.
I made a mental note- "never buy another Firestone."
Firestone tried to spread blame to Ford and Explorer owners, but the
question of fault was settled by the litigation. The settlement went
against Firestone. Nothing about the Explorers design or the air pressure
recommendations caused the tires to fail.. Ford proved that fact in court by
showing the problem occurred only on Explorers and other vehicles fitted
with Firestone tires from one plant, to the exclusion of all other tires.
The problem did not occur on Explores fitted with other brand tires or
Firestone tires for other Firestone plants.
The unfortunate part of Firestone problem for Ford and the industry was it
imbedded, in the publics mind, the erroneous perception that SUV have a
higher tendency to rollover than other types of vehicles. That gave the
anti SUV crowd an excuse to try and effect the sales of SUV they love to
hate. That perception is unfounded in fact. The fact is NO automobile or
light truck has a tendency to rollover, even those SUVs with a short
wheelbase. The opposite is the truth.. Every car or truck, if lifted up on
two wheels by whatever force has, by definition, has not only a tendency but
indeed a propensity to fall back on all four wheels. The fallacy,
perpetrated by the environuts, has lead to expensive engineering changes and
increased government regulations over SUVs that does little or nothing but
add to the cost of building those vehicles. The truth is fewer than 2% of
ALL vehicles accidents, including cars and light trucks, result in a
rollover. The fact is the vast majority of that 2% are the result of forces
encountered during the accident other than instability. IE being struck or
striking something, running up or down a grade etc. If raising the center
of gravity of a vehicle two inches or less, as is the case with SUVs,
actually caused a vehicle to rollover then one should expect to see six and
eight wheeled trucks, that have a center of gravity of about six inches
higher than the average SUV or light truck, rolling over on a daily basis.
Just more bullshit, from a guy who thinks that a
too hot plug alone is a proximate cause of engine
overheating, that running without a thermostat
results in an engine overheating due to the coolant
flowing through the engine too fast to pick up heat
Why does this clown continue to post his nonsense??
Because, of course, a lawsuit always gets completely to the bottom
of all complex technical questions...
I'm afraid that your knowledge of vehicle dynamics falls a bit
short. On the contrary, any vehicle can be made to turn over, even on
level pavement, if only by some sort of abuse (e.g. bad inflation
pressures). The narrower the vehicle, and the higher its center of
gravity, the easier that is to do, other factors being equal. Some
design choices, e.g. the swing-axle rear suspensions of the VW Beetle
and early Corvair, can make the situation worse.
Ever hear of the Mercedes A-Class?
But the truth is that rollovers count for a fairly large share of
fatalities. And that share is much higher for SUV's than for passenger
cars. I can't find the 1998 IIHS report right now; it's the latest
I've found that breaks down fatalities by model and accident type. But
it indicates that SUV deaths are far more likely to result from
rollovers than deaths in passenger cars.
Or sliding sideways into a curb.
And they do, even though they have the advantage of being driven by
trained professional drivers, and far less lateral acceleration
capability. Remember how Ford reduced the recommended inflation
pressure for the Explorer to reduce rollover risk? That was because it
reduced the maximum lateral acceleration. The maximum lateral
acceleration of a loaded semi is down around 0.5G, as I recall.
-Stephen H. Westin
Any information or opinions in this message are mine: they do not
Over the last 25 years I have driven on Michelins, GoodYears, BFG's and
Bridgestones. Only one brand ever separated on me... and it happened
twice with two different tires.
Guess which brand.
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