Tenn. (May 21, 2001) - Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. today
announced it is terminating its almost 100-year business relationship
of supplying tires to the Ford Motor Company.
relationships, like personal ones, are built upon trust and mutual
respect. We have come to the conclusion that we can no longer
supply tires to Ford since the basic foundation of our relationship
has been seriously eroded," said John T. Lampe, chairman, CEO
and president of Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. "This is not a decision
we make lightly after almost 100 years of history. But, we must
look to the future and the best interests of our company, our
employees and our other customers."
Ford of the decision during an early morning meeting at Firestone
headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. attended by Carlos Mazzorin,
Ford Group Vice President of Global Purchasing, and in a letter
sent to Ford Motor Company CEO Jacques Nasser.
suggests that there is a significant safety concern with a substantial
segment of Ford Explorers. We have told Ford of our concerns.
They have steadfastly refused to acknowledge those concerns. We
have always said that in order to insure the safety of the driving
public, it is crucial that there be a true sharing of information
concerning the vehicle as well as the tires. Ford simply is not
willing to do that," Lampe said. "We believe they are attempting
to divert scrutiny of their vehicle by casting doubt on the quality
of Firestone tires. The tires are safe, and as we have said before,
when we have a problem, we will acknowledge that problem and fix
it. We expect Ford to do the same."
Inc. will honor the terms of its existing agreements but will enter
into no new tire sales agreements in the Americas with Ford beginning
today. A copy of the letter sent
from Mr. Lampe to Mr. Nasser is included with this release.