Hanging Tough on the SUV Issue

THE EXPLORER ROLLOVERS

For the Ford Motor Co., last year's Firestone-tire crisis created a legal pileup that could wreck the company's consumer-centric strategy. Ford still faces hundreds of lawsuits that seek damages totaling at least $590 million on behalf of the victims of rollovers of Firestone-equipped sport-utility vehicles, most of which involved the wildly popular Ford Explorer. According to federal data, 174 people have died and more than 700 have been injured in accidents stemming from tread separations and other problems linked to the 6.5 million 15-in. SUV tires that Firestone recalled last August.

Although Ford was applauded for the speed and candor of...

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