Ford Loses Records of Explorer Tests, Says Trials Were Not on Actual SUVs
                    September 20, 2000

                    By JOSEPH B. WHITE
                    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

                    DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. cannot find original records of key 1989
                    tests of Firestone tires used on Explorer sport-utility vehicles, company
                    officials said in a news conference Wednesday.

                    Ford also revealed that the tests were conducted using a modified Ford
                    F-150 pickup truck designed to mimic the load distribution and
                    performance of a Ford Explorer, not an actual Explorer. Ford
                    spokesmen Jason Vines and Ken Zino said such testing was common

                    Ford has submitted an affidavit from a retired engineer that tests of the
                    Firestone tires designed for the Explorer were done in 1989, using tires
                    inflated to 26 pounds per square inch. That's the pressure Ford
                    recommended for the Explorer. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. officials have
                    since said they recommended the tires be inflated to 30 psi.

                    Rep. Billy Tauzin (R., La.) and his aides have questioned the adequacy
                    of Ford's testing of the Firestone tires used on the Explorer. The Ford
                    spokesmen said data they have submitted shows the auto maker
                    conducted extensive testing.