Bridgestone Firestone North American Tyre said on Wednesday it has agreed to pay $US240 million to Ford Motor Co. to settle claims related to the tyremaker’s 2000 recall of defective tyres, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The tyre maker and automaker reached a settlement that will help cover the costs of Ford’s 2001 tyre replacement programme, which followed the tyre recall, Saul Solomon, vice president and general counsel of Nashville-based Bridgestone Firestone, told AP.

The news agency recalled that at least 271 people were reported killed and hundreds more injured in accidents involving Firestone ATX and AT tyres, and the maker recalled 6.5 million of them – Bridgestone has spent more than $1 billion on recall-related costs.

The Associated Press added that discord between Ford and Bridgestone Firestone emerged in May 2000, when the US government stepped in to investigate the cause of numerous accidents involving Ford vehicles with tyres bearing the Firestone logo. Bridgestone blamed defects in some Ford vehicles, while Ford said the tyres were entirely at fault.

In May 2001, Ford severed business ties with Firestone that had lasted nearly half a century and began replacing almost 10 million Firestone tyres free of charge for its own customers, the report said.