Ford Motor Co. is offering both customers and dealers the option of substituting Goodyear tyres for standard Firestone Wilderness AT tyres on its current 2001 Explorer vehicle, writes the Wall Street Journal (14/11/00).

WSJ reported that Dale Claudepierre, Ford's compact sports utility vehicle line director, is concerned that consumers are resisting Firestone tyres, in the wake of the 6.5 million Firestone Wilderness AT, ATX and ATX II tyres.

Reports that Firestone tyres were used as standard on Ford's Explorer alongside other vehicles involved in sudden tread separations, consumer concerns about the safety issues surrounding the tyre recall and Ford production cuts saw sales of the model slide 16.4 per cent in October.

WSJ reports that the US auto-giant has offered dealers and consumers the choice of either Goodyear (GT) or Michelin tyres instead of the Firestone brand when it launches its 2002 Explorer early next year.

Sales of Firestone brand replacement tyres fell 40 per cent in the US for the months of September and October, said Bridgestone Corp., parent of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. last week.