Continental Tire says NHTSA investigation is unfounded

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Continental Tire North America Inc. believes the preliminary investigation of the General Ameri*550AS by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is based on "factual inaccuracies and mischaracterizations."

In an attempt to "set the record straight," Continental Tire issued a press release of its own following NHTSA's announcement.

"We have produced and shipped over 2.7 million Ameri*550AS from 1996-today, primarily for use on the Ford Motor Co. F150 pickup truck," says the company.

"Our adjustment data for the Ameri*550AS has been excellent. Out of the 2.7 million tires produced, there have been only three injury-related accidents, as indicated in NHTSA's own report, and one lawsuit settled long ago. There have been no fatalities.

"The Ford F150 is a pickup truck used in off-road conditions and difficult environments, such as construction sites. The Ameri*550AS adjustment data must be viewed in the context of its application and the environment in which it is placed. It cannot be compared with data from other tires, such as passenger tires, and it is misleading to consumers to make generalizations about safety records based on comparing only one set of data.

"Evaluating a tire's performance on just a parts-per-million basis is not an industry standard for measuring safety, but is only one of many measures to judge quality. Tires are returned through a warranty program for a variety of reasons and only a small proportion of these 'adjusted' tires could be considered 'defective' tires.

"The 124 ppm rate cited by NHTSA in its press release has been disputed by us as to both its accuracy and relevancy. In fact, it has been reported in the press, other tires also had close to, or over, a 100 ppm claims rate, where as NHTSA claims our rate 'far exceeds that of any other tire on the committee's list.'

"Consumer safety is Continental's highest priority.

"We have cooperated fully with NHTSA, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, providing both with all the real world data associated with this tire.

"We are deeply disappointed that NHTSA has opened this preliminary evaluation and believe the data shows there is no basis for further investigation. We also believe this preliminary evaluation is politically motivated and patently unwarranted and not based on any historical standards for opening an investigation.

"We will continue to fully cooperate with NHTSA, and we are confident that the outcome of the preliminary evaluation will be a confirmation that the Ameri*550AS tire is safe.

"Ford has been fully advised of all developments and has all of the data. They have also independently tested this tire and it meets all of their performance and durability requirements.

"Continental is proud of its record, and continues to design and produce the safest tires in the world."

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