The Following Comments Can Be Attributed To: Joseph M. Gingo Senior Vice President, Technology & Global Products Planning
There have been misleading media reports in print and on air regarding Goodyear light commercial tire applications, and their alleged role in accidents across the country that have resulted in either serious injury or fatalities.
Anytime there are circumstances where tires are alleged to be contributors in accidents that result in injury or death, we take nothing more seriously. As a company Goodyear has built its reputation over the past 102 years on making safe, dependable tires consumers can count on. Goodyear is a responsible company with a history of always doing the right thing for consumers, and being very proactive and professional in doing it.
Here are the facts:
1) We are not talking about passenger tires. The tires being referred to in media reports are light commercial applications used on a wide variety of vehicles.
2) All tires can separate. Tread separations do not necessarily indicate a defect in a tire. After examining two tires involved in damage claims (no injuries) back in late 1994, we proactively put together a group of engineers to closely examine the cause of these separations. The charge to that group of engineers was to find out why the treads were separating. The group went through exhaustive analysis of the tires, the manufacturing process, the materials and the design. In addition, on three subsequent occasions we put the tires through extreme performance testing and research analysis with the same conclusion.
The conclusion of the analyses of the processes, materials and design, along with the dynamic testing, confirmed there were no material, design or manufacturing process issues with these tires.
3) What we did notice during this process was the start of an evolution of a new breed of larger vehicles, pickups, vans and towed vehicles, and trends in modifications to those vehicles that might lead to overloading the tires. Due to the increased tendency for overloading, we started putting nylon overlays on these types of tires in 1996 to make them more robust. We have converted all of these type tires to the more robust construction. The nylon overlay does not prevent tread separations.
4) Whenever we face situations like those referenced in the media coverage, the very first thing we do is physically examine the tires to make certain there is nothing that would indicate a potential manufacturing defect. In the 30 total accidents we have encountered resulting in either injury or fatalities, every single tire we have had the opportunity to examine has shown indication of impact damage, puncture damage or overloading and under- inflation. A tread separation, today the most common form of failure for a commercial tire, is normally the end result of something else that happens to a tire (a factor external to the tire, such as hitting a rock or other debris on the road).
5) While this is not a tire manufacturing, material or design issue, in this day and age of heightened awareness of tires, there are those who might benefit from bringing these types of cases to the attention of the public. And you have a media more attuned to tires as subject matter.
People need to understand that tires are not indestructible, nor unfortunately can they be made that way. It is our responsibility to make them durable, reliable and safe. We take that responsibility very personally and very seriously. We take nothing more seriously.
This is not a Firestone tire recall situation.
Tire companies have been making evolutionary and revolutionary enhancements to their products for more than 100 years. Just in the past 10 years we’ve seen the mileage you can expect from a tire double. You can stop quicker in wet and dry conditions and even run flat on extended mobility tires for more than 50 miles at 55 mph. All of these enhancements have been done with the consumer and consumer safety in mind.
Goodyear will continue to take tire technology to unprecedented levels of safety, through further development of materials, processes, inflation warning systems and education for dealers and consumers to take their tires and tire care equally seriously.