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BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture, and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone, and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle OE manufacturers, and those in the agricultural, forestry, and mining industries. The companies are also engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials, and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies also operates the world’s largest chain of automotive tire and service centers.
The Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle rolls over more often
than other SUV's do in tire-tread accidents, and it has vibration
and suspension problems that Ford can't always explain and sometimes
can't fix. Those flaws raise the suspicion that the Explorer
itself is contributing to the sometimes fatal accidents that
forced the Bridgestone/Firestone recall. An internal memo from
Ford of Venezuela says that the Explorer "turned over unexpectedly"
when Firestone tires lost their treads, but that other SUV's
didn't in similar circumstances. About 31% of Explorer complaints
cited mysterious vibrations. Many could not be cured, even after
dealers changed tires, shock absorbers and drive-shafts. Less
frequent is an odd tire-wear pattern called "cupping."
It shows up in less than 2% of Explorer complaints, but never
shows up in most other Ford truck models.
People in Venezuela also driver Ford Explorers and the Firestone tires equipping that Latin American countries vehicles have been linked to an additional 46 fatalities. Venezuelan officials believe Ford and Firestone knew about the problems with the tires but failed to warn owners until May, 2000, when they quietly began to offer free tire exchanges for Wilderness and ATX tires sold with explorers since 1997.