May 23, 2001

                    Tire Threat: The Road to Recall

                    Early Signs of a Major Malfunction

                    Mounting evidence shows that Ford and
                    Bridgestone/Firestone knew about tire-tread separation
                    problems years before the first recall was announced in

                    November 1978: Firestone recalls 13 million tires following
                    escalating reports of accidents and deaths involving tread
                    separation on steel-belted radial tires.

                    May 1988: Bridgestone, the world's No. 3 tire maker,
                    completes its $2.6 billion acquisition of Firestone, the No. 2
                    tire maker.

                    February 1989: Ford enlists an independent research lab to
                    measure the performance of 17 Firestone tires. The lab
                    reports there were problems with tires experiencing belt-edge
                    separation on five of 17 test runs.

                    March 1990: The Ford Explorer is
                    introduced as a 1991 model, overlapping
                    with the discontinuation of the Bronco SUV

                    January 1995: The newly redesigned 1995
                    Ford Explorer is introduced to the SUV

                    July 1998: State Farm Insurance researcher
                    Sam Boyden sends an e-mail to the
                    National Highway Traffic Safety
                    Administration outlining a pattern of flaws
                    he sees in a study of 21 cases of tread separation on
                    Firestone ATX tires. Mr. Boyden continues to file periodic
                    information to NHTSA about subsequent accidents involving
                    tread separation.

                                                October 1998: In Venezuela,
                                                Ford notes problems of tread
                                                separation on Firestone tires
                                                mounted on Ford's popular
                                                Explorer SUVs and other
                                                light-truck models, and sends
                                                examples of such failed tires to
                                                Bridgestone/ Firestone for

                    August 1999: Ford begins replacing Firestone tires on
                    Explorers sold in Saudi Arabia after it received information
                    about tread-separation problems. Ford does not highlight
                    safety concerns, but instead calls the replacement program a
                    "customer notification enhancement action."

                    May 2000: In Venezuela, Ford
                    changes tire brands to Goodyear as it
                    waits for Firestone's U.S. offices to
                    come to a resolution on the mounting
                    tire problems. Ford's replacement
                    action covers about 39,800 vehicles.

                    May 8, 2000: NHTSA launches a
                    formal investigation into alleged
                    tread separation on Firestone ATX
                    and Wilderness tires.

                    July 28, 2000: Ford sets up a "war room" at its Michigan
                    headquarters. The team tries to find a common denominator
                    in the incident reports, such as a tire-manufacturing plant or
                    a geographic region. Others begin canvassing tire makers
                    world-wide to see if there would be enough tires available to
                    accommodate a recall.

                    Aug. 4, 2000: Ford finds a pattern in data pointing to 15"
                    ATX and ATX II tire models and Wilderness AT tires made at
                    the Decatur, Ill. plant, and calls in Firestone experts; the two
                    firms work through the weekend verifying all findings. Ford's
                    data analysis showed that older tires produced at the
                    Decatur plant received more claims against them as the
                    production year decreased.

                    Aug. 9, 2000: Bridgestone/Firestone announces a
                    region-by-region recall of more than 6.5 million tires, the
                    majority of them mounted as original equipment on Ford
                    Motor Explorers and other Ford light trucks. The Firestone
                    brands affected include 15-inch ATX, ATX II and Wilderness
                    AT tires.

                    Aug. 30, 2000 Federal regulators recommend that
                    Bridgestone/Firestone expand the recall to include an
                    additional 1.4 million tires. The company refuses. NHTSA
                    recommends consumers replace the tires.

                    Aug. 31, 2000 NHTSA seeks information from State Farm
                    Insurance on possible problems with 16-inch Firestone tires.

                    Sept. 1, 2000: NHTSA announces it has found another 24
                    Firestone tire models of various sizes that showed rates of
                    tread separation exceeding those of the recalled tires. The
                    announcement came just as the agency boosted to 88 from
                    62 their estimate of U.S. deaths allegedly linked to Firestone
                    tire failures.

                    Sept. 12, 2000 Top Bridgestone/Firestone officials admit the
                    company made "bad tires" and blamed the design and
                    manufacturing flaws for problems with the recalled tires.

                    Sept. 2000 Ford and Firestone executives testify before a
                    congressional committee, defending their handling of the
                    crisis but criticizing each other.

                    Oct. 1, 2000 Federal regulators say they are investigating
                    another brand of Firestone tires, Steeltex, for tread-
                    separation defects.

                    Dec. 18, 2000 A Firestone study cites the weight of the
                    Explorer and the relatively low 26 psi recommended tire
                    pressure as a possible factor in crashes.

                    Jan. 8, 2001 Ford and Firestone settle high-profile Texas
                    case, agreeing to undisclosed compensation for a woman
                    paralyzed in an Explorer rollover crash.

                    April 2001 Ford launches redesigned 2002 Explorer, most of
                    them equipped with Goodyear or Michelin tires.

                    May 21, 2001 Firestone abruptly ended its 95-year
                    relationship as a supplier to Ford, accusing the auto maker of
                    refusing to acknowledge safety concerns about the Explorer
                    sport-utility vehicle.