In the Wake of Tire Recall, Ford Plans a Stock Buyback
                    September 15, 2000

                    By NORIHIKO SHIROUZU
                    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

                    DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co., whose shares have lost more than
                    10% of their value since the Firestone tire recall began last month, said
                    Thursday it will buy back as much as $5 billion of common and Class B
                    stock in an apparent effort to shore up the share price.

                    Announcing the buyback, Ford's chief financial officer also warned that
                    widespread protests in Europe over energy prices could affect
                    production there and weigh on the company's third-quarter results.
                    Third-period earnings already came under pressure after Ford shut
                    down several U.S. truck factories to free up tires for the recall.

                    Before the Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. recall, launched Aug. 9, Ford had
                    signaled it was likely to undertake a buyback to complete a $10 billion
                    cash distribution to shareholders promised in the spring. Ford gave
                    shareholders $5.7 billion of that total in a complex recapitalization in
                    early August.


                    "Based on our confidence and our financial strength, we have increased
                    the total planned cash distribution by $700 million," Henry Wallace,
                    Ford's chief financial officer, said in a press release to announce the $5
                    billion buyback, which the company expects to substantially complete by
                    the end of 2001.

                    Ford shares rose following the stock-buyback news; at 4 p.m. in New
                    York Stock Exchange composite trading, they were up 56 cents at
                    $25.81. On Aug. 9, the day the tire recall was announced, Ford shares
                    closed at $29.50.

                    Some on Wall Street had feared Ford could delay the buyback
                    announcement because of the potential for negative publicity if the
                    company appeared more concerned about its shareholders than about
                    addressing the problems of its customers during the tire recall.

                    Most of the 6.5 million recalled Firestone tires were mounted on Ford's
                    Explorer sport-utility vehicle, one of the company's best-selling vehicles.

                    Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said Thursday the company's board
                    discussed the pros and cons of announcing the repurchase now "at
                    some length" this week, and concluded that delaying the move wasn't
                    necessary financially, and could have caused investors to question
                    "whether there's something else, some other issue." Mr. Ford said the
                    company won't be diverting money toward the buyback that it would
                    otherwise use to address the tire problem.

                    Federal safety regulators have counted 88 deaths allegedly related to
                    accidents involving Firestone Wilderness, ATX and ATX II tires whose
                    tread separated at highway speeds.

                    Since the recall was announced, at least another five fatalities have
                    occurred that are allegedly linked to Firestone tire failures.

                    "What this share buyback signifies to me is Ford is more interested in
                    taking care of their shareholders and boosting shareholder value than
                    they are in addressing safety problems of their customers," said Sean
                    Kane, president of Strategic Safety, a group researching the tire
                    problem for attorneys who are suing Ford.

                    Ford's Mr. Wallace said the company is doing "everything in our power"
                    to help replace recalled tires on its sport-utility vehicles. While the tire
                    debacle is financially draining, Mr. Wallace said the company is "in good
                    shape" and can easily afford the buyback.

                    Nick Lobaccaro, auto analyst at Lehman Brothers, reckoned that Ford
                    stock's recent weakness demanded an early buyback. "If anything, the
                    weakness in the stock price argued more forcefully for a buyback," he

                    Mr. Wallace said analysts' consensus estimate for third-quarter earnings
                    was "reasonable." Analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial expect
                    Ford to earn 52 cents a share in the third quarter, compared with an
                    adjusted 54 cents a share a year ago.

                    He warned, however, that "the real unknown is what happens over the
                    next two weeks in Europe."

                    While Ford's plants in Europe haven't yet been affected by the protests
                    over fuel prices, which have led to blockades in several countries, the
                    plants are "beginning to creak a little bit," Mr. Wallace said.

                    The fuel shortages could lead to parts shortages that may force its
                    factories to shut down.