May 22, 2001

                    Major Business News

                    Letter From Firestone to Ford, Ending Business Relationship

                    Following is the full text of the letter that John Lampe, U.S.
                    Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. chief executive, president and
                    chairman, sent Monday to Jacques Nasser, chief executive of
                    Ford Motor Co., severing the century-long business
                    relationship between the companies:

                    BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE, INC.
                    50 Century Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37214
                    Phone: 615-872-1900 Fax: 615-872-1802

                    John T. Lampe
                    CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
                    AND PRESIDENT

                    May 21, 2001

                    Mr. Jacques Nasser
                    Chief Executive Office
                    Ford Motor Company
                    Dearborn, Michigan

                    Via Fax

                    Dear Mr. Nasser:

                    Today, I am informing you that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is
                    ending its tire supply relationship with the Ford Motor
                    Company. While we will honor our existing contractual
                    obligations to you, we will not enter into any new tire sales
                    agreements in the Americas with Ford beginning today.

                    Business relationships, like personal ones, are built upon
                    trust and mutual respect. We have come to the conclusion
                    that we can no longer supply tires to Ford since the basic
                    foundation of our relationship has been seriously eroded.
                    This is not a decision we make lightly after almost 100 years
                    of history. But we must look to the future and the best
                    interests of our company, our employees and our other

                    Our analysis suggests that there are significant safety issues
                    with a substantial segment of Ford Explorers. We have made
                    your staff aware of our concerns. They have steadfastly
                    refused to acknowledge those issues.

                    We have always said that in order to insure the safety of the
                    driving public, it is crucial that there be a true sharing of
                    information concerning the vehicle as well as the tires. You
                    simply are not willing to do that. We believe you are
                    attempting to divert scrutiny of your vehicle by casting doubt
                    on the quality of Firestone tires. These tires are safe, and as
                    we have said before, when we have a problem, we will
                    acknowledge that problem and fix it. We expect you to do
                    the same.

                    I wish you and the Ford Motor Company continued success
                    and regret that we cannot continue our relationship going

                    John T. Lampe