USA: Comments by Martin Inglis, Ford Motor Company Vice President

By Press Release | 22 August 2000

Comments made by Mr. Inglis during phone conference call with news media to announce decision to stop production for two weeks at three Ford Motor Company U.S. Assembly plants in order to free up 15" tires for use as replacement tires during Firestone safety recall.

  • As you know, we've been working around the clock to understand the tire problem and the urgent need for replacement tires for our Ford owners.

  • There is a shortage of suitable 15" tires to use as replacements for our present vehicle owners. We believe it is short-term shortage --- which will improve significantly by the middle of September when the additional tire production begins to become available. Increased tire production is ramping up extremely fast - but we still have near term shortages.

  • That's why we are announcing today:

  • Beginning Monday, August, 28th and continuing for two weeks (through Sept. 8th) - Ford Motor Company intends to make available all 235/75/15 tires that we were planning to use for new vehicles. 100% of our supplies of these 15" tires will be directed totally to addressing severe shortages of replacement tires for our present owners.

  • That means that we are stopping new vehicle production at three assembly plants in order to free up tires for our present owners to use as replacements during this critical period.

  • The plants involved are:

  • Twin Cities Assembly in Twin Cities, Minn. - which produces Ford Ranger pickup

  • Edison Assembly in Edison, N.J., which produces Ford Ranger pickup

  • St. Louis Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri, which produces Explorer & Mountaineer

  • This will free up approximately 70,000 new tires. They will be directed to our Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers in North America - where the tire shortages are most critical.

  • In addition -- we are also announcing that Ford Motor Company is working with tire suppliers (Goodyear, Briudgestone/Firestone, Michelin) on the production of additional molds for manufacturing tires - in order to quickly increase capacity for production of 15" tires certified for use on our vehicles.

  • Tonight, our CEO Jac Nasser will confirm this decision in a message to Ford Owners that will be broadcast on national TV during ABC's Monday Night Football. We are taking this significant step because of our commitment to do everything we can to ensure our customers' safety and peace of mind.

  • Our Bottom Line is this: WE are taking these actions to make the most replacement tires available in the market - NOW. This action will help close the current gap between supply and demand until increased tire production gets ahead of demand.