Employees at Ford Motor Company's Edison Assembly Plant are returning to work early to help speed delivery of replacement tires to area dealers and customers. The Edison facility, where the popular Ford Ranger pickup truck is assembled, closed Monday for two weeks to free up 15-inch tires that would normally be used for new trucks. Instead, they will go to customers impacted by the Firestone recall.

Employees of the Edison plant and the Ford Customer Service Division are spending the day unloading tires, assembling shipments and delivering the tires to 78 dealerships in the New York metropolitan area. Supported by plant management and UAW Local 980, this project allows dealership personnel to concentrate on assisting customers with inspections and replacements for recalled tires.

"We are truly committed to doing whatever we can to help get tires to our customers quickly," said Bruce Hettle, Edison plant manager. "The Firestone recall has been hard on a lot of our customers, and we want our neighbors to know that we care."

The Edison plant is one of three Ford plants idled for the two-week period. The others are in St. Louis and Minneapolis-St. Paul. This temporary shutdown is diverting about 70,000 tires to bridge the gap between now and mid-September when Firestone, Goodyear, General, Uniroyal and Michelin are able to produce additional tires.

More than a million recalled tires already have been replaced as Ford and Firestone work quickly to get new tires to customers. Additional actions recently taken by Ford include:

  • Diverting another 30,000 tires monthly from production until the recall is completed;
  • Expanding replacement outlets to include more than 10,000 Firestone retailers and national and regional tire chains, in addition to more than 3,000 Ford, Mercury and Mazda dealers;
  • Working with the tire industry to double new replacement tire production;
  • Increasing the number of approved 15-inch replacement tires to more than 30 Firestone and other brands.

    Edison Assembly Plant produces Ford Rangers, Mazda B-Series pickup trucks and bodies for Ranger EV electric trucks. It produced 179,000 trucks in 1999.