Ford fires back at Bridgestone/Firestone regarding Explorer safety questions

June 1, 2001

It didn't take Ford Motor Co. long to respond to Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s request that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigate steering problems in Ford Explorers.

"You can talk about testing data endlessly," says John Rintamaki, Ford's chief of staff. "We are replacing Firestone Wilderness AT tires because they have elevated rates of tread separation in the real world. Real world data also shows the Explorer is among the safest vehicles on the road."

The Explorer's fatality rate is 27% lower than passenger cars overall and 17% lower than other SUVs, Ford claims.

"The Explorer performs the same as competitive SUVs before, during and after a tread separation."

Goodyear tires mounted on Explorers perform fine, according to Rintamaki.