Ford and Firestone

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Ford and Firestone Case Study

Safety issues involving Firestone tire tread separations specifically on Ford Explorer SUV’s and resulting vehicle rollovers were brought into the public’s view in early 1998 as a result of several tragic accidents.

Tire tread separation photo, Associated Press, 2000
One accident involved a junior high school girl named Jessica LeAnn Taylor from Mexia, Texas. Jessica was a passenger in a Ford Explorer with Firestone tires, during the accident the tire peeled off and forced the vehicle to lose control and proceed to roll. This young girl died from complications caused during this accident.
Another accident involved a Ford Explorer driven by Victor Rodriguez from Laredo, Texas. The Firestone tire shredded off while Victor was driving. His car flipped and Mr. Rodriguez’s 10 year old son Mark Anthony died at the crash site.
On February 7, 2000, Anne Werner, a reporter at KHOU-TV, in Houston, TX, introduced Cynthia Jackson, who described how her husband of a year and a half had died and how her own legs were amputated above the knee because their Ford Explorer fitted with the original Firestone Radial ATX tires flipped after the front tire came apart1.
Firestone later reprimanded Robert W. Dechrd, CEO of A.H. Bello Corporation (owners of KHOU) and Peter Diaz, President and General Manager of KHOU, for airing the story which, according to them, “contained falsehoods and misrepresentations that improperly disparage Firestone and, its product, the Radial ATX model tire”2.
Firestone attempted to rule out tire problems at the very beginning suggesting that Ford Explorers were prone to rollovers and that Ford had recommended a tire pressure lower than that required. However, in November 1999, in a key victory won by Randy Roberts, Jessica Taylor’s family attorney, Judge Sam Bornias ordered Firestone to turn over all…...

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