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Ford and Firestone's Tire Recall: the Costliest Information Gap in History

In: Business and Management

Submitted By sixface
Words 3139
Pages 13
On August 9, 2000, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. announced it would recall more than 6.5 million tires, most of which had been mounted as original equipment on Ford Motor Co. Explorers and other Ford light trucks. Bridgestone/Firestone had become the subject of an intense federal investigation of 46 deaths and more than 300 incidents where Firestone tires allegedly shredded on the highway. The Firestone tires affected were 15-inch Radial ATX and Radial ATX II tires produced in North America and certain Wilderness AT tires manufactured at the firm's Decatur, Illinois, plant. This tire recall was the second biggest in history, behind only Firestone's recall of 14.5 million radial tires in 1978. The 1978 tire recall financially crippled the company for years to come and the August 2000 recall threatened to do the same. Consumers, the federal government, and the press wanted to know: Why didn't Ford and Firestone recognize this problem sooner? Let us look at the series of events surrounding the tire recall and the role of information management.
1988---Financially weakened from its 1978 tire recall, Firestone agreed to be acquired by Bridgestone Tires, a Japanese firm. To increase its sales, Firestone became a supplier of tires for Ford Motors' new sport-utility vehicle (SUV), the Explorer.

March 11, 1999---In response to a Ford concern about tire separations on the Explorer, Bridgestone/Firestone (Firestone) sent a confidential memo to Ford claiming that less than 0.1 percent of all Wilderness tires (which are used on the Explorer) had been returned under warranty for all kinds of problems. The note did not list tire separations separately but did say this "rate of return is extremely low and substantiates [Firestone's] belief that this tire performs exceptionally well in the U.S. market."
August 1999---Ford Motors announced a recall in 16 foreign countries of all…...

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