A Special Report: St. Petersbrg Times Deadly Combination: Ford, Firestone and Florida
 
 
Deadly Combination:
Ford, Firestone and Florida
Part One
  • Main story
  • Companies warming to settlements
  • At a glance
  • The players
  • Questions and Answers
  • A Timeline
  • What the companies say
  • Interview with Anita Kumar, the reporter
  • Graphic: How the tires failed
  • Graphic: When it’s too late
  • Graphic: By the numbers
  • Graphic: The human toll

  • Part Two
  • After the rollover
  • Suspect tires still on road
  • Driver side rear tires fail the most
  • About this report

  • Contact Anita Kumar:
  • Via e-mail: Click here
  • By phone: (727) 893-8472

    Further coverage
  • In first trial, Firestone settles lawsuit
  • Battered Firestone counting on local ties
  • Rollover crashes are hard to track
  • Ford leaves 2-door SUV unchanged
  • Recall may leave Firestone bankrupt
  • Government to expand tire recall
  • FHP says Firestone tire a factor in fatal crash
  • Two bay area lawsuits target Ford, Firestone
  • Ford agrees to test replacement tires
  • Ford recall: from bad to worse?
  • Ford's sub tires may fail more
  • Attention shifts from Firestone to Ford Explorer
  • Ford widens recall; companies cut ties
  • Ford recalls Wilderness AT Firestone tires
  • Dealerships brace for Ford tire recall
  • Tire decision not just for Ford owners
  • Voluntary tire recall rolling smoothly
  • Firestone cuts deal on bad tires
  • How the tires failed: An interactive graphic
    Timeline of key events in the history of Ford and Firestone
    1975: Firestone tries to cure tread separation problems in the radial 500 tires caused by moisture getting inside the tire and corroding the steel.
    1977: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration orders Firestone to recall 400,000 tires from its Decatur, Ill., plant.
    1978: Congress holds hearings on Firestone 500 problems blamed for 34 deaths. Firestone tells Congress the trouble is consumer ignorance and underinflation but agrees to recall 11.5-million tires.
    1988: Japanese tiremaker Bridgestone buys Firestone.
    February 1989: A research lab hired by Ford reports tread separation problems with Firestone tires.
    1992: Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford begin investigating tread separation complaints.
    1997-98: Ford receives reports of tread separations on Explorers in Saudi Arabia.
    July 1998: State Farm notifies the federal government about 21 Firestone tread failures, 14 on Explorers.
    January 1999: At Ford's direction, Bridgestone/Firestone develops tires with a nylon cap for countries with hot climates and rough roads.
    August 1999: Ford replaces Firestone tires in the Middle East. Bridgestone/Firestone is opposed.
    February 2000: Ford replaces Firestone tires in Malaysia and Thailand. Bridgestone/Firestone is opposed. After a Houston TV station reports tread separation problems, the federal government sees a surge of Firestone complaints.
    April: After a five-month study of tires on Explorers in Arizona, Texas and Nevada, Bridgestone/Firestone says there is no evidence of a problem in the U.S.
    May: Ford replaces some Firestones in Venezuela. Bridgestone/Firestone is opposed.
    May 2: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opens preliminary investigation into Firestone tread separations. The agency has 90 complaints involving 27 injuries and four deaths.
    Aug. 4: Ford analysis of Bridgestone/Firestone data pinpoints tread problems on tires, especially those made in Decatur, Ill. Sears stops selling the suspect tires.
    Aug. 7: The highway agency says at least 46 deaths are possibly related to the Firestone tread problems. Discount Tire and Montgomery Ward suspend sales of Firestone tires.
    Aug. 9: Bridgestone/Firestone recalls 6.5-million ATX and AT tires.
    Aug. 21: Ford suspends production at three plants so 70,000 tires can be used as replacements for recalled tires. Ford CEO Jacques Nasser begins prime-time TV ads to reassure customers.
    Aug. 22: Bridgestone flies tires from Japan to the U.S. as replacements.
    Aug. 23: Bridgestone boosts production at three Japanese plants to 450,000 tires annually for recall replacements.
    Aug. 28: Bridgestone boosts production in Japan to 650,000 tires annually to help speed the recall.
    Sept. 1: The highway agency warns another 1.4-million Firestones may have greater problems than those recalled. Firestone refuses to recall them.
    Sept. 4: Bridgestone/Firestone settles labor dispute to avert a strike at nine U.S. plants. The company agrees to recall all 62,000 AT tires in Venezuela.
    Sept. 6, 2000: Congress opens hearings on the case. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. CEO Masatoshi Ono apologizes. Ford Motor Co. CEO Jacques Nasser insists his company could not be blamed.
    Sept. 7: A Senate bill is introduced allowing second-degree murder charges for executives withholding information on defective products that cause death and requiring companies to report foreign recalls to U.S officials.
    Sept. 14: House lawmakers introduce the Tread Act, a bill to improve consumer protection and communication between auto and tire manufacturers and the federal government.
    Oct. 10: Ono steps down as CEO of Bridgestone/Firestone. Executive Vice President John Lampe takes the job.
    Oct. 11: The House and Senate pass a bill giving federal regulators more authority to punish companies for knowingly selling defective products.
    Oct. 17: Bridgestone/Firestone lays off 450 workers at its Decatur, Ill., plant and cuts production at two other plants.
    Oct. 25: Hundreds of lawsuits against Ford and Firestone are consolidated in federal court.
    Oct. 26: Florida officials pursue allegations that production shortcuts contributed to deadly tire failures.
    Nov. 6: Bridgestone/Firestone focuses on faulty product design and manufacturing problems at its Decatur, Ill., plant.
    Dec. 5: Bridgestone says it will lose $750-million for the year ending Dec. 31.
    Feb. 6, 2001: The highway agency reports 174 deaths and more than 700 injuries.

    Sources: Associated Press, Gannett Company Inc., Leader Publications


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