Ford / Firestone Case Pacheco, Lester Allan Esperanza, Rae Tadioan, Joseph Santosidad, James John
Brief History In November of 1978, Firestone recalled 14.5 million tires due to tread separation
Tire Recall On August 9, 2000 6.5 million Firestone Tires were recalled in the United States. The three different tire models included the 15” ATX, ATXII and the Wilderness AT As of September 2001, 192 deaths and 500 injuries were attributed to the Firestone tires mentioned above.
What is Tread Separation? Tread Separation occurs when the rubber tread begins to separate from the steel belts inside the tire. This occurs because it is hard to adhere rubber to steel. Tread Separation becomes more likely at high speeds and in warmer climates.
Brief History In May of 1988, Bridgestone took over Firestone and saved them from bankruptcy due to the 1978 recall. In 1991, Bridgestone/Firestone ATX, ATXII and Wilderness AT tires were being used on the Ford Explorer
Brief History In 1992, Ford started to receive complaints regarding the Firestone tires. In 1999, Ford began replacing tires on models oversees without telling federal regulators. In February 2000, the Houston, Texas television station, KHOU did a story on tire separation on Ford Explorer tires. After this, many complaints were reported.
NHTSA NHTSA stands for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration The NHTSA provides important information to the consumer, such as crash test ratings and vehicle safety information.
The NHTSA’s Investigation found: Belt-leaving-belt tread separations reduce the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. It is especially dangerous when the separation occurs on the rear tires.
The NHTSA’s Investigation found: Once the belt-edge separations have begun, they will continue to grow resulting in tread detachment. This tends to occur more frequently at high speeds and warm climates. A design feature known as a “belt wedge” is used to prevent the growth of belt-edge cracks. The belt wedge gauge in the Firestone tires was found to be narrower than the peer tires.
The NHTSA’s Investigation found: There were several weak spots around the circumference of the tire due to a narrowing of the wedge gauge at the shoulder pocket. Due to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the NHTSA has the burden of proving defects do exist. The investigation concluded that the tires manufactured mainly at the Wilson and Joliette locations were in fact, defective.
Deaths and Injuries Resulting from Firestone Tire Failure by State(Current as of 2-6-2001)
Major Issue Costumer Welfare and Product Safety. As companies in the automobile industry one must value the tire and breaks as the most important component to consumers’ safety it is unlikely not to notice if any problems arise concerning this parts. Both companies have knowledge on the defects but no action was done earlier.
Major Issue Failure to communicate and address the issue in a timely manner. Neither company had tire safety, testing and database analysis program. These types of programs provide early detection and intervention of product defects. Did not adequately test tires for proper manufacturing specifications.