Japanese tyre-maker Bridgestone is expected to announce on Wednesday (9/8/00) a recall of its ATX, ATX11 and Wilderness tyres, says the UK`s Financial Times (9/8/00).

The company's US-based Bridgestone/Firestone subsidiary has scheduled a news conference in Washington DC (11am EDT) to comment on the tyres under investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Ford Motor Company representatives are expected to be attending the news conference, says the report.

Concerns over the safety of the tyres have been raised over the last 10 days, with the NHSTA confirming last week that it was investigating reports of 21 traffic deaths, revised to over 40, allegedly resulting from tyre treads separating from their casings.

Two lawsuits, alleging that the tread had separated on tyres used on Ford Explorer sports-utility-vehicles (SUVs) have been filed against both Firestone and Ford.

In a series of statements over the past several days, Ford said that it is conducting a very vigorous and intensive investigation to understand the problem. The company stressed that it is cooperating fully with both the Government and Firestone.

Bridgestone/Firestone has said that the tyres are amongst the safest in use on the road, if properly inflated and maintained. However, car owners have been encouraged by the company to schedule a free inspection of the tyres.

According to the FT, it is unclear whether the recall of the Firestone's tyres - sold mainly in North and South America - extends beyond the US.

Bridgestone's stock price has dropped as a result of the investigation.