May 20, 2001

                    Major Business News

                    Ford Recalls 50,000 New Explorers For Possible Cuts in Tire Treads

                    Associated Press

                    WASHINGTON -- Ford Motor Co. is recalling 50,000 brand new
                    Explorers because an assembly line conveyor belt that was
                    too narrow for the wider 2002 model may have cut the tire

                    It's the second recall of a three-month-old redesigned model
                    that was scrutinized to prevent such problems after last
                    year's Firestone tire recall.

                                         The recall includes 50,000 four-door
                                         Explorers built at Ford's plant in
                                         Louisville, Ky. When the sport-utility
                                         vehicles were loaded too far to the right
                                         on the conveyor belt, it left cuts five to
                                         nine inches long and half an inch deep in
                    one or both of the right tire treads.

                    A Ford official speaking on a condition of anonymity Sunday
                    described the cuts as cosmetic and said they do not affect
                    tire performance. The company has no reports of accidents or
                    injuries because of the problem, the official said.

                    The SUV is also made at a St. Louis plant, but it had a
                    different conveyor system that could accommodate the
                    two-inch wider models. Ford has widened its conveyor belt in
                    Louisville by three inches.

                    The auto maker began shipping the SUVs in mid-February and
                    many may still be on dealer lots. Ford plans to send a letter
                    to all owners by the end of May and will check and replace
                    damage tires for free at its dealerships.

                    The tires are Goodyear and Michelin brands. Ford stopped
                    putting Firestone tires on all its Explorers last year after
                    Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s recall of 6.5 million tires.

                    At least 174 people have been killed and more than 700
                    injured when Firestone tires lost their tread or had other

                    Ford spent months scouring new Explorers for any defects
                    before putting them on sale, hoping to move beyond the
                    recall and avoid repeats of recent, recall-troubled launches of
                    the auto maker's Focus subcompact and small SUV, the

                    In April, Ford had its dealers pick up 56,652 new Explorers
                    and Mercury Mountaineers because the rear liftgate windows
                    could break when shut.

                    The Explorer has been the nation's top-selling SUV for 11
                    years, with a record 445,157 of them sold last year despite
                    bad publicity over the tire recall.