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GM will swap some Firestones for Bridgestones next year

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General Motors (GM) Corp. will replace Firestone brand tires with Bridgestone brand tires on certain unspecified year 2002 vehicles.

"It's an effort to balance the Bridgestone and Firestone brands within our vehicle line-up," says Terry Rhadigan, GM's manager of safety communications. "It's consistent with Bridgestone's own strategy and with what other original equipment (car) manufacturers are doing."

Nineteen GM lines currently offer Firestone brand tires; only one vehicle line carries the Bridgestone brand.

The decision is not a reaction to last year's 6.5 million-tire Firestone recall, according to Rhadigan. "Discussions began in 1995 when Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. approached us. The thought back then was to increase the number of Bridgestone tires in our lines."

"One of our goals has been to balance the exposure of both brands in the OE market," says a BFS spokesperson.

GM expects the Bridgestone brand's international reputation as a "premium tire" to facilitate exports, he says.

"We still have high confidence in Firestone tires and their performance."

Firestone brand tires are OE on 21% of GM's light vehicles in the United States and Canada, according to Modern Tire Dealer data.

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