USA: Ford's Nasser Hits At Bridgestone Exec Over Tire Recall

By Press Release | 29 September 2000

Ford Motor Co.(F) Chief Executive Jacques Nasser had harsh words for his Bridgestone-Firestone (J.BDT) counterpart Yoichiro Kaizaki Thursday, following the recent massive recall of faulty Firestone tires.

In an interview with French daily Le Monde, Nasser said Kaizaki ought to concentrate more on relations between Ford and Bridgestone.

Asked what he thought of Kaizaki's comments that Ford should bear part of the responsibility for the costly recall, Nasser said: "If I were in his place, I would take a look at long-term relations between these two companies."

"I would be a bit more understanding of what consumers are going through at the moment. The most important thing is to give customers good tires."

Controversy surrounding the massive recall last month of Firestone tires has driven a wedge into the century-old relationship between Ford and Firestone, which is owned by Japan's Bridgestone Inc.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday, Ford is now planning to equip the bulk of its next-generation Explorer sport utility vehicles with tires from the French maker Michelin SCA (F.MIC). - 28/09/00 10-50G Recall Costs "Manageable"

In the interview, Nasser said Ford was forced to shut down three of its plants in August to cope with the recall. He said the costs of the recall would be "manageable over the longer term".

Explaining Ford's decision to withdraw a $6.9 billion bid for Daewoo Motor Co. (Q.DMT), Nasser hinted that righting problems at the South Korean carmaker may have proved too costly.

"Daewoo had problems, otherwise it would not have been for sale," said Nasser.

"We put a ring round their problems. We didn't seek to run away from them but we concluded that it would be better for Ford if Daewoo went its own way."

Earlier Thursday, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that General Motors Corp. (GM) may consider buying part of Daewoo Motor Co's operations.

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