Auto Service World
News   July 25, 2001   by Auto Service World

Continental Tires Under Fire, Company Fires Back

Continental Tire North America, in the wake of having received notice that the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration is investigating safety issues of its tires, has issued a statement denying any problems with its tires.
Yesterday the company received a notice from NHTSA that a preliminary evaluation of the General Ameri*550AS tire has been opened. At the same time NHTSA issued a press release concerning the preliminary evaluation, which contains, says the company "factual inaccuracies and mischaracterizations."
In a statement, Continental says that it has shipped shipped over 2.7 million Ameri*550AS from 1996-today, primarily for use on the Ford Motor Company F150 pick-up truck. The company says that 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.
Continental says that, even so, 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 company disputes the 124 ppm rate cited by NHTSA in its press release and says that other tires also had close to, or over, a 100 ppm claims rate, where as NHTSA claims the Continental failure rate “far exceeds that of any other tire on the committee’s list.”
The company says that it believes the release of the preliminary data and evaluation is politically motivated and not based on any historical standards for opening an investigation.

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