WASHINGTON (Sept. 27)—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Ford Motor Co. began fighting over the tire-vs.-vehicle issue regarding the Ford Explorer and Firestone tires in Venezuela, three months before the U.S. recall began, according to documents released by the House Commerce Committee. In a May 4 letter to Emmanuel Cassingena, president of Ford Motor de Venezuela, Jorge A. Gonzalez of Bridgestone Firestone Venezolana S.A. suggested a tire replacement program for Firestone tires on Ford Explorers, "provided that the tires will be fitted on any vehicle on which the suspension has been modified." But in a meeting the next day between Cassingena and Bridgestone Firestone Venezolana officials, Cassingena "was very strong and rude" and said "that under no circumstances he will accept a statement that their Explorer has suspension problems," according to a May 9 memo by Bridgestone Firestone Venezolana legal counsel Ana Cecelia Colmenarez. The tire firm in turn rejected Cassingena´s insistence that the Wilderness tire alone was responsible for problems in Venezuela, "indicating that a good number of accidents have taken place with tires other than BFVZ tires and that they have been modifying their Explorers´ suspension," Colmenarez wrote.
Ford, Bridgestone/Firestone began fighting in Venezuela, documents show
Rubber & Plastics News wants to hear from its readers. If you want to express your opinion on a story or issue, email your letter to Editor Bruce Meyer at [email protected].