TUCSON, Ariz. (Feb. 8)—The independent Firestone Tire Failure Analysis study issued recently does not address key issues such as design and manufacturing flaws that play critical roles in the belt separations that plagued Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires, a panel of independent tire consultants convened by a Florida personal injury attorney has determined. Sanjay Govindjee, the independent expert hired by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. to investigate the belt separations, determined there was no single cause for the failures, although he singled out load as an overriding factor in accelerating stresses that led to failures. His analysis is flawed, the panel concluded, because it looked only at Firestone tires and not at other Bridgestone tires or competitors´ models, and he did not address manufacturing anomolies among various Bridgestone/Firestone plants. Among specific charges leveled at Bridestone/Firestone were the discovery of contaminants such as solvents, wax residue and moisture in the steel belts of tires examined by the consultants. In a prepared statement, the tire maker said the consultants´ conclusions were "not based on scientific analysis, but on anecdotes and unsupported theories that have been raised and rejected many times before."
Panel calls independent Firestone defect study flawed
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