The U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will pursue a wider recall of Firestone Wilderness tires, according to a recent release from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The d...
The U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will pursue a wider recall of Firestone Wilderness tires, according to a recent release from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The department’s statement suggests a possible forced recall: “The agency has completed its defect investigation into the tires in question, and Firestone has been apprised of the results. Firestone was asked to recall some of the tires and they refused to do so. Therefore, NHTSA will issue an initial defect decision, the next step toward a forced recall.” Bridgstone/Firestone has declared that a forced recall could result in the matter going to public hearings, or before the courts.
According to Bridgerstone/Firestone chief executive John Lampe, “We appreciate NHTSA’s diligence on this issue, but we strongly disagree with any suggestion that a recall action might be warranted and believe any such action could have potentially serious consequences for the driving public and the entire tire industry,” said Lampe, referring to testing that shows Firestone tires performing within industry-accepted norms.
Reiterating a call for increased scrutiny of the Ford Explorer, Lampe added, “This much is clear. Our tires are safe… if the real issue at hand is the safety of the driving public – and we believe it is – then taking more of our tires off the road is not the solution. It doesn’t solve the real problem: the vehicle. We now know this to be a fact: you can take every Firestone tire off every Explorer and the rollovers and fatal accidents will continue.”
Ford Motor Company reaction was at press time, measured. “We will continue to work closely with NHTSA as it continues with its initial defect decision, the next step toward a forced recall of Firestone tires, declared Sue Cischke, Ford’s vice president for environmental and safety engineering.