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The Ford & Firestone Tire Controversy The Ford & Firestone relationship dated back to more than

a 100 years with Firestone supplying tires to almost all the major Ford cars. It began in 1896, when Henry Ford I turned to Harvey Firestone for tires for his experimental quadricycle. A decade later, the fledgling Ford Motor Company again turned to Firestone, which became the car makers largest supplier for much of the 20th century. The love story finally ended in 2001 when John T. Lampe, Chairman / CEO of Bridgestone/Firestone, in a 2001 letter to Jacques Nasser, announced that Bridgestone/Firestone would no longer enter into new contracts with Ford Motor Company. The reason for the same was the Ford & Firestone tire controversy and the Firestone tire recall now counts as one of the most deadly auto safety crisis in in American History. In May 2000 Ford and Firestone, were contacted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the high incidence of tire failures on Ford Explorers, Mercury Mountaineers and Mazda Navajos fitted with Firestone tires. During July, Ford obtained and analyzed the data on tire failure. The data revealed that 15" ATX and ATX II models and Wilderness AT tires had very high failure rates: the tread peels off. Many of the tires were made at a Decatur, Illinois plant. It was found that when the tread peels off, Ford Explorer unlike other vehicles becomes highly unstable and rolls over killing its occupants. As on 16 October, 2000 US regulators put the death count at 119. However experts believe that as high as 250 deaths and 3000 cataclysmic injuries resulted because of the combination of an inferior tire and a shockingly unstable vehicle. The defect rate was estimated at 241 defects/million for 15-Inch ATX and ATX II tires. By as per Ford data there are no defects in 16 Inch tires per million and only 2.3 incidents per million on other tires. In August 9, 2001 both companies decided to recall tires. However after Firestones sweeping 6.5 million tire recall Ford recalled another 13 million cars having other Firestone cars on its other vehicles as it felt there was a trust deficit now between the two companies. The major issues related to Firestone were as follows: Most of the tires recalled were made at its Decatur plant, in Illinois. The tires were made during a time of industrial dispute. At the time the company was relying on Scab Labor (The crew that comes in to take over when the original workers go on strike).

The major issues related to Ford were as follows: TIME investigations showed that the Ford Explorer was inherently unstable, and more likely to rollover than other SUVs. At the time of production the company was also struggling with Bronco II, another notoriously unstable vehicle that cost the company billions in damage settlements. The cars had narrow, raised underbodies, used in trucks and minivans which raised the center of gravity and made them unstable. Insurance industry data shows that the two-door Explorers had a much higher rollover rate than the four-door Explorers and most other sport utility vehicles. Ethical & Moral issues encountered in such a cataclysmic event were: Lack of owning up of responsibility by both Ford & Firestone until legal and public pressure compelled them to do so. Ford Engineers knew about the inherent instability of the vehicle but continued with production. Ford continued to deny any responsibility until it became a political nightmare. Firestone wanted to put all the blame on Ford as they did not want to bear the cost of changing all the tires. Ford built a vehicle that used a lower tire pressure to help with ride handling and quality however the pressure had to be maintained at that pressure. Underinflated tires develop heat, and heat wears and tears tires much more easily. Firestone did not invest proper time and effort in developing such heat resistant tires.

Consequently we feel that if proactive action had been taken, and both the companies had helped and cooperated with each other instead of indulging in blatant mudslinging then the number of fatalities and casualties would have been much less than what it eventually was. We believe that the bitter lessons learned from this catastrophe will deter MNCs from bringing out untested and unsafe products in the future as well as ensure that they are proactive in their response to free and fair information dissemination and not try to stonewall and hijack the investigative processes.

Regards, Abhilasha Gupta U111002 Aditi Rajvanshi U111004 Divya Gera U111020 Santosh Pati U111049 Siddhartha Mohapatra U111052