Ford, Goodyear Agree to Work Together To Assist Customers With Tire Recall
By TIMOTHY AEPPEL
Ford Motor Co. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. disclosed Wednesday that they had forged an agreement to work together to assist customers affected by Ford's decision to replace Firestone tires on certain vehicles.
Ford and Goodyear, in a joint release, said they will allow Ford customers to obtain Ford-approved replacements for the tires at more than 5,000 Goodyear retail outlets at no cost to the customer. The companies also said Goodyear "is making arrangements to ensure adequate availability of approved Goodyear tires at Ford and Mercury dealerships through its own network of independent tire dealers and Goodyear company-owned stores."
Goodyear increased shipments of tires already last week, the companies said. Goodyear, of Akron, Ohio, said it has increased tire production "significantly" at seven North American tire plants to make tires available for use in the replacement program.
"I am delighted with our partnership with Goodyear and all that they are doing to help us provide safety and peace of mind for our customers," said Jacques Nasser, Ford CEO and president, in the release. Sam Gibara, Goodyear chairman and CEO said: "Ford is certainly a valued customer of Goodyear, and we share their objective to get safe, quality tires onto their customers' vehicles as quickly as possible."
Nearly every major tire maker has vowed to accelerate production to help fill the void created when Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. last week abruptly ended its 95-year relationship as a supplier to Ford and accused the auto maker of refusing to acknowledge safety concerns about its best-selling Explorer sport-utility vehicle. Firestone had been Ford's biggest supplier of tires before serious questions over the reliability of certain Firestone brands helped wreck the relationship.
Ford has said it will spend $3 billion to replace 13 million Firestone tires that weren't subject to last summer's recall of 6.5 million tires initiated by Firestone, the U.S. subsidiary of Japan's Bridgestone Corp.
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