Firestone recall timeline
August 30, 2000: 12:33 p.m. ET

The short, unhappy history of the second-largest tire recall in U.S. history
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Bridgestone Corp., parent of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., will try to explain at a Sept. 6 congressional hearing the circumstances of its recall of millions of tires reportedly tied to fatal accidents involving sport/utility vehicles.

Here's a brief history of the massive tire recall:

Aug. 3, 2000: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it had opened an investigation of Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires after receiving 193 complaints -- including 21 involving fatalities -- that the rubber peeled off the tire casing. Ford Motor Co. (F: Research, Estimates) said it was also reviewing the safety of the tires.

Aug. 4: Sears (S: Research, Estimates), the nation's No. 1 tire retailer, said it stopped selling the tire models.

graphicAug. 9: Bridgestone recalled 6.5 million tires -- the second largest tire recall in U.S. history -- in response to complaints the tires might be linked to fatal accidents. The Firestone Web site crashed hours after the announcement, crippled by the number of people trying to access it at once.

Aug. 10: Firestone retail locations across the U.S. were jammed with consumers requesting new tires.

Aug. 11: Customers trying to return Firestone tires said they were frustrated by an inadequate supply of replacement tires.

Aug. 12: Ford, responding to customer complaints that a phased tire recall wasn't moving quickly enough, authorized its nearly 3,000 dealers to replace the tires with other brands if Firestone's substitutes weren't available.

Aug. 13: On the very day Ford ran full-page Sunday newspaper ads reassuring its customers of the safety of Ford autos equipped with Firestone tires, two Ford Explorers -- fitted with Wilderness AT tires -- suffered blowouts in Florida.

Aug. 14: A group of South Florida families filed a class-action lawsuit against Firestone, demanding the immediate replacement of potentially unsafe tires.

Aug. 14: Ford said it would continue using Bridgestone/Firestone tires, but the company would increase scrutiny of quality standards at the tire manufacturer.

Aug. 15: The NHTSA said it found there had been 62 fatalities in accidents involving vehicles using the recalled tires.

Aug. 16: Bridgestone said it would reimburse customers up to $100 a tire for exchanging tires involved in the company's recall and began running ads in 41 newspapers nationwide detailing the reimbursement policy. However, Bridgestone said customers who exchanged tires for non-Bridgestone replacements after Aug. 16 wouldn't be reimbursed.

Aug. 16: A Kentucky judge ordered Firestone to extend its Aug. 16 deadline for reimbursing consumers who replaced tires at independent shops with competitor's' tires. The company wiped out the deadline, but said it had nothing to do with the judge's order.

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Aug. 21: Ford said it would halt production at three truck assembly plants for two weeks beginning Aug. 28 in order to free up 70,000 tires so they could be used as replacements in the recall.

Aug. 22: Wall Street analysts cut Ford's earnings estimates, saying consumer worries about the tire recall would temporarily hurt Ford's sales.

Aug. 25: The House Commerce Committee said it would send investigators to Ford's headquarters to talk to Ford executives and study documents about the recall.

Aug. 26: U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said the U.S. wasn't seeking the recall of Firestone tires beyond those models already identified.

Aug. 28: The U.S. Congress said it planned to hold hearings on the recall on Sept. 6, under the auspices of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Aug. 29: Ford said it knew of problems with Firestone tires on Explorer sport/utility vehicles in Venezuela in 1998, two years before they began replacing tires for customers there. Back to top


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