Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2011

Ford Motor Co., Firestone

Scandal: Tire-recall controversy

Best quote from the testimony: "From this point forward, when we know something, so will the world." — Jacques Nasser, former Ford CEO

One of the most dangerous recalls in automotive history turned into a heated blame game when Ford and Firestone executives appeared before Congress to discuss product defects that were linked to nearly 175 deaths and 700 injuries. Throughout the hearing, which took place in September 2000, lawmakers openly chided both companies — as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — for not notifying authorities of the tread-separation problem found in certain types of Firestone tires. While Firestone exec John Lampe accepted responsibility for the tire defects, he shifted the brunt of the blame to Ford, saying that problems with the Explorer, in addition to Ford's recommendation that tire-inflation pressure be lower than usual, were catalysts to the accidents. Ford's Nasser fired back, saying that the problem was "a Firestone-tire issue, not a vehicle issue." In the end, more than 1.4 million tires were recalled and Firestone recorded a loss of $750 million.