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Bridgestone/Firestone reports Ford Explorer claims rates are unusually high

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Ford Motor Co. has pointed its finger at Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) Inc. since the controversy surrounding Firestone tire tread separations first erupted last summer.

Meanwhile, Ford has maintained that the design of its top-selling Explorer SUV had nothing to do with subsequent roll-over accidents that claimed more than 100 lives and caused nearly as many serious injuries.

But statistics released by BFS yesterday paint another picture.

BFS compared claims rates of the Explorer with Ford's popular Ranger pick-up truck, both shod with recalled size P235/75R15 Firestone Radial ATX and Wilderness AT tires.

"Ford Explorers have about five to 10 times the claim rates of Ford Rangers for the exact same tires," BFS officials say.

BFS ended its 100-year-long relationship with Ford yesterday and is accusing the auto manufacturer of refusing to acknowledge safety problems with the Explorer.

BFS Chairman, President and CEO John Lampe appeared on Good Morning America earlier today to explain the Nashville, Tenn.-based company's position. Ford declined to participate in the discussion.

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