TOKYO (Nov. 12)—Bridgestone Corp. has extended a slender olive branch to Ford Motor Co. in a bid to patch their bitter split over Ford´s decision to recall 13 million Firestone tires. Bridgestone CEO Shigeo Watanabe, in an interview with Automotive News, said he would be "willing to listen" to arguments that Bridgestone repay Ford for tires it would have been required to recall under a government order but that Ford recalled first. Asked how he would respond if Ford argues that Bridgestone should pay for replacing some of the tires that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. would have had to recall under the latest government edict, Watanabe answered: "I can´t answer it right now, but I would discuss it" with Ford. In October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ordered Bridgestone/Firestone to replace 3.5 million more tires, but Bridgestone believes only 768,000 of those tires remain in service. The tire maker also assumes Ford already recalled half of those tires, meaning that Bridgestone will replace only the remaining half. Watanabe said he was motivated to seek peace by the stated desire of Ford´s new CEO, William Ford Jr., to rebuild relations with its business partners, dealers and suppliers.
Bridgestone CEO says he´s willing to make peace with Ford
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