Firestone Articles (Other Interesting Articles)


Andy Bassett

I can't for the life of me find the thread where we started to discuss this, but somebody has very kindly sent me a copy of an article which i paste in below.


Lawmakers Slam Firestone, Ford on Tires
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers slammed Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.
(5108.T) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) for failing to sound the alarm early
enough on the failure of Firestone tires linked to at least 88 deaths in
the United States.
In the first of two hearings on the same day by Congress,senators said
it seemed as if the companies did not have the interests of the American
consumer in mind when they tackled the problem of treads separating,
leading to the fatal accidents.

``It sure looks like several critical players were covering their
ears,'' said Sen. Richard Shelby, Chairman of the Transportation
Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

Firestone, owned by Japanese tiremaker Bridgestone Corp., announced on
Aug. 9 a voluntary recall of 6.5 million 15-inch tires in response to a
U.S. probe that began in May. So far nearly two million have been
replaced, and several more people have died in tire-linked accidents
since the recall.

Most of the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles were outfitted with
Firestone tires, and this vehicle has featured prominently in the
accident statistics.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating
the accidents formally in May and Shelby questioned if this had been
soon enough.

Facing a grilling by the lawmakers, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. CEO
Masatoshi Ono said his company would not rest until it knew the reason
for the fatal accidents.

``Unfortunately, I am not able to give you a conclusive cause at this
time. However, you have my word that we will continue until we find the
cause,'' Ono said in testimony before the panel.

Ono and Jacques Nasser, president and CEO of Ford (F.N), and other
officials are due to testify in the House of Representatives about the
largest tire recall in U.S. history later on Wednesday.

A Ford official reiterated that the accidents, some of which involved
the Explorer rolling over, were a tire problem rather than something
linked to the performance of the vehicle.

Helen Petrauskas, Ford's vice president of environmental and safety
engineering, said the automaker began looking for defects in the tire at
the same time it was replacing tires overseas after learning of reports
of tread separation.

``We had new tires tested under three separate, severe test conditions
to try to cause tread separation to happen,'' she said. ``No defect
trend was found.''

Panel member Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, said she had
questions about why American consumers were kept in the dark when tires
were replaced or recalled in more than 15 countries outside the United

``American consumers need better and more timely information on product
safety,'' she said in an opening statement.

``Many in this Congress have prided themselves on loosening Federal
Regulations -- this crisis has shown why regulations and oversight are
needed to ensure public safety.''

At the rear of the House hearing room a suspect Wilderness AT tire was
on display, its tread ripped away like a giant banana peel.


As of Sunday - Firestone has allowed their PR firm to walk away from the issue at hand. - The link was: /news/ap/000907/23/tire-deaths-crisis-contro


Fully vaccinated are you?
Originally posted by EyeSpy:

Firestone has allowed their PR firm to walk away ...
I doubt Firestone had a say in whether the PR firm stayed or went.

David Mullins

The following id from American Quality Mall at:

Dead Link -->

It appears to have a couple of small inaccuracies, but was interesting from a perception viewpoint.

Quality auditor OK'd Decatur tire plant
By Del Jones, USA TODAY

Another major company may get swept up in the tire saga that has caused corporate crises at Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford Motor.

Lloyd's Register, a 240-year-old company with headquarters in the United Kingdom and 200 offices worldwide, inspected Firestone's Decatur, Ill., plant in 1997 and awarded it the quality seal of approval known as QS-9000.

Bruce Kaster, a lawyer who sues tire companies, says he doubts if Lloyd's will be sued, because companies can hide the truth from auditors. But James Kolka, a lawyer who has written a book about the legal liability of such quality certifications, says there is no reason plaintiffs won't name Lloyd's along with Bridgestone and Ford.

Federal regulators have linked 88 fatalities in the USA to wrecks involving tread separation in Firestone tires, mostly on Ford Explorers. Most of those tires were produced in Decatur.

QS-9000 is the automotive subset of ISO-9000, a rigid quality standard well known to manufacturers worldwide. In this case, it saved the trouble and expense of each automaker inspecting Firestone's Decatur plant. Instead, Firestone hired Lloyd's to inspect the plant and verify its process quality for all.

The Lloyd's Register Web site says it is in "the business of safety." Last month, it won a multimillion-dollar contract to verify the safety of a $14 billion high-speed rail system in Taiwan, the largest such rail project in the world.

Phone calls Thursday to Lloyd's headquarters in Croydon, United Kingdom, and to offices in New York and Houston were not returned.

Bridgestone/Firestone also had no response .

"I wouldn't have any basis to render a comment," says Steve Walsh, Ford's QS-9000 expert.

QS-9000 has come under some criticism for being long on paperwork and short on results. The running joke among quality experts is that a plant making life preservers of cement could get certified provided procedures were written and exactly followed, Kolka says. Many automakers are switching to a German quality standard.

Jim Smith of Cambridge Management Sciences says he was recently at a telecommunications plant that was being ISO-9000 certified, not by Lloyd's. "The auditors spent virtually three days outside smoking, and they came back with five trivial quality problems."

Lloyd's Register is not affiliated with Lloyd's of London. Its roots go back to when insurers needed verification that ships they covered were seaworthy.

QS-9000 certifications are good for three years. The Decatur plant is due for re-certification this month.


Don Watt

Loooks like more problems from Ford are coming to the surface: -

Ford Knew of Ignition Module Problems -

Report DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. (F.N) was aware of increasing problems with an ignition systems part but withheld
data from federal regulators looking into complaints the components were failing in large numbers, the New York Times
reported on Tuesday.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the report said, Ford engineers, safety officials and board members were aware of growing problems with the thick film ignition system, which
passes sparks to the engine distributor. The system would shut down if it got too hot and cause the car to stall, the report said.

The paper said the No. 2 automaker provided about a dozen documents to federal regulators. The company told regulators who opened and closed five investigations in the issue, it did not know of any defect with the part.

However, Ford had internal studies about the part, consumer complaints, reports of fatal and serious accidents and lawsuits, as well as warranty claims that during some years
topped 40 percent, the paper said.

Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said Ford and investigators from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) had an ``honest disagreement'' over the wording of some NHTSA questions that was later resolved. NHTSA did not find that Ford had deliberately misled it, and later said plaintiff attorney contentions did not change its findings that there is not a safety defect trend, Krusel said.

Ford also said none of the cases filed against it has proved that an accident was caused by a module failure, adding that the modules were more reliable than earlier systems.

On Aug. 30, a California judge said he was prepared to order Ford to recall nearly 2 million vehicles after finding that the automaker misled consumers about the alleged module design defect. The ignition modules were put on 22 million vehicles from 1983-1995.

The New York Times story comes as Ford continues to grapp with the recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires, mostly on Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles. Plaintiff attorneys and others have said Ford knew of tire problems on the Explorer years
before it urged Firestone to recall the tires.



Mid-way through this article (Dated 1997) explains that Firestone could have been aware that belt/rubber "sepearation" was a possibility as long ago as the early 1970's
Dead Link:


Originally posted by David Mullins:
QS-9000 has come under some criticism for being long on paperwork and short on results. The running joke among quality experts is that a plant making life preservers of cement could get certified provided procedures were written and exactly followed, Kolka says.

Y'know, this joke is true. After all ISO is designed to assure that you know what your customer ordered, 4.3-Contract Review, and follow it up with checking out customer complaints, 4.14-Corrective and Preventive Actions.

What it doesn't go into is telling you what you have to make, just that you're supposed to give the customer what he wants.

There might be a market out there for cement life preservers; I wouldn't have thought there'd be a market for pet rocks, but I'd have been wrong.

For safety standards you go to industry and/or product specific standards. In the product standards I've read, the system of producing the goods is never addressed, only the specifications of the final product.

I think that the misunderstanding lies in the fact that ISO addresses consistancy of product rather than reliability, etc. And people are used to standards that give specs for the final product.


David Mullins

That's alright,
I spent 15 minutes this morning explaining to 3 third year commerce students that a quality management system wasn't just a marketing gimmick.
Are they teaching them this stuff!!!!


Andy Bassett

You are right David, but lets step out of our Quality shoes for a moment and ask ourselves why do companies take up ISO registration, to improve their quality or to be able to continue to market their goods to customers that are demanding registration.

As far as i can see the latter is in the majority, no wander that business students view it as a Marketing gimmick.


Andy B
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