February 2, 2001
Firestone Report Reveals News Data Supporting Recall of Non-Decatur Wilderness AT Tires
Statement of Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen
While Firestone’s report today states that there was no single cause for the tread separations experienced in the recalled ATX and Decatur-made Wilderness AT tires, one thing is clear: Firestone’s own warranty data support a recall of Wilderness AT tires produced at other plants.
Embedded on page nine of the lengthy report is new data acknowledging that the adjustment rate, that is, the rate at which customers brought their tires in for problems, was essentially the same, whether the tires were made in Decatur, Joliet or Wilson. This means that the tires were equally problematic regardless of the plant in which they were manufactured, and that all Wilderness AT tires could crack and separate.
It also raises a serious safety concern for drivers everywhere, because when Firestone recalled Decatur-made Wilderness AT tires, the company often replaced them with Wilderness AT tires made at other plants. If these tires, too, are unsafe, as Firestone s own data indicate, there should be an immediate recall of all Wilderness AT tires.
Throughout this fiasco, company executives have dodged questions, dragged their feet and danced around the hard issues. It’s time for them to admit that more tires are out there on the roads right now that could lead to more tragic deaths and injuries. We need a complete recall now.
Joan Claybrook was administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1977 to 1981.