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.