May 21, 2001

Ford Should Conduct Full Recall, Make Things Right for Explorer Customers

Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook

It s about time that Ford makes things right for the millions of Explorer customers driving on dangerous, shred-prone Firestone Wilderness AT tires. Ford has not yet announced its exact plans, but we strongly urge the company to take the only responsible course of action, and that is to recall the remaining 15-inch Wilderness tires not already taken off the road, as well as all 16-inch Wilderness AT tires.

The summer heat is almost upon us, and people s lives are literally riding on their tires. We are pleased that Ford intends to act immediately, even though Firestone has refused to do so. Ford should not opt for a customer service campaign a weak and ineffective move that lacks the urgency appropriate for this grave situation. Rather, it should get all the killer tires off the road. Right now.

Public Citizen for months has been calling on Ford and Firestone to take these tires off the road. In August, we urged the companies to conduct an expanded recall because we suspected that they had closed the book too quickly on the scope of the recall. Then we delved deeper, and found our suspicions confirmed. The investigation based on the physical examination of tires, Ford and Firestone documents, laboratory and real world tests, and more culminated in a report we released last month with Safetyforum.com documenting that the non-recalled tires on Ford Explorers have the same design and are just as prone to failure as the tires that Ford and Firestone had already pulled off the road.

###