Scandal of Firestone tires was mainly experienced in the year 1970s where major accidents on highways resulted from defects of the firestone 500 radial designs. This was due to separation of tread for radials tires that had been belted with steel at a high speed drive; this cause was attributed to insufficient use of bonding cement for holding of the tread tire carcass. Tread separation was one of the major scandals that Firestone had impacted. These results were proved through investigations carried out by National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) who later announced them publicly.
Scandal between the Ford Motor Company and the Firestone Company
Another scandal also eminent in the Firestone misdeeds resulted from contradictions between the Ford Motor Company and the Firestone Company. In periods raging 1996 1nd 1997 problems were experienced from tires on Explorers that were manufactured by Firestone Company. Firestone asserted of tires being under-inflated after investigating incidences that occurred and also through listening to complains from its customers; but reporters informed the public that among the several road accident cases, 30 of the death, involved existence of firestone tires. Most consumers were highly conscious of the fact resulting to reports of several cases regarding the Firestone model and the Ford Explorers to the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) leading to investigations’ that led to recalls.
On a quick view of brief history of both companies: Harvey S. Firestone founded the Firestone tire & Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio in 1900. The company manufactured tires and automobile products. Its pioneering job of tire production made it a major supplier of automobiles to Ford Motor Company. In the late stages Firestone merged with a Japan oriented corporation known as Bridgestone Corporation in year 1990; now it is referred to as Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.
In comparison Ford Motor Company was founded in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry Ford was the founder of the company in 1903 and he was the first to revolutionize the manufacturing car industry through development of assembly lines for automobiles production. Ford is one of today’s world leading trucker maker and overall car manufacturer following General motors. Ford produces trucks, commercial vehicles and car passengers and is also a co-founder of other companies that manufactures cars including Aston martin, Jaguar, land rover, Volvo and Lincoln.
Firestone was claimed to know from the beginning the tread separation problem before they took any action regarding the existence of defective tires. There was involvement of different types of tread separation in past years; that of 200 and that of 1970, which were different in nature. In the earlier years of 1970 Firestone decided to increase levels of rubber compounds in tires by adding resorcinol that assisted in adhesion decrement and in strong steel belts formation, while in 2000 the company prompted for three-tire recall where incidences of tire separation or inflations occurred.
Firestone made most of its consumers dissatisfied due to manufacture of faulty tires, firestone was mostly caught off guard and they failed to react fast resulting to emergence of questions concerning the corporate personal responsibility and the customer loyalty and integrity being portrayed by the corporate. There were numerous reports of deaths involving tread separation. Firestone was also reluctant in payment of compensation fees or replacement of tires making its loyalty to its consumers questionable.
The Middle East complained of mishap tires and thus national service managers were sent to analyze on Firestone tires on Ford vehicles. Garthwaite was involved in the Middle East studies after realizing that the companies were reluctant to take accountability of the situations of increasing number of accidents; discovered that in Arabia a number of deaths were associated with firestone tires. Ford Explorers cited internal memos to in Dubai raising concerns about the firestone tires; they also outlined plans on replacing defective tires and upgrading of tires that were on Ford Explorers. In the other hard Firestone was not readily willing to offer tire replacement in the Middle East. Ford Motor Company was willingly taking steps to ensure that their consumers were not on the blame game of their company.
Firestone directors decided to change the image created through use of faulty tires by trying to make up quality radial tires that were inferior so as to subject it to belt-edge separation during high speed or mileage. Firestone had a blame game to consumers accusing them of poor maintenance and under-inflation of their vehicles’. They introduced sufficient strict measures to ensure that control of quality tire production was possible but it was unsuccessful process resulting to a recall of 400,000 tires in March 1977.
Firestone recalled firestone 500 radial tires of over a million in 1978. In the same year there were congressional hearings of the 500 radial firestone cases. Most of their tires were investigated and tested for any defectiveness and conclusions were that most tires were defective following the investigation. Most companies started taking action by most dealerships firms replacing Firestone tires and using upgraded ones, they also made constant garage checkups by inspectors and discounts were given to the consumers to ensure their loyalty and show of concern.
There was a blame game between both parties the Firestone $ Rubber Company and the Ford Explorers; Firestone directors also requested for Ford vehicles to be brought up for complimentary inspections. These competitions and rivals’ behaviors did not last long as the Firestone and Ford Motor Company started recalling for millions of tires and also on Explores renovations respectively. On August 2000 Firestone made a recall that ensured the safety of the consumers and original replacements were carried on in ranges of $500 to $4.4 bn.; constituting of all vehicle manufacturers.
The tire standards
In the earlier 1978 recall proposals were formulated concerning the tire standards. The first proposal included: installation of red button that would act as a warning sign when the tire reached dangerous low pressure, this would pop out in the dashboard light and directly warn the driver. It was considered inaccurate and costly and the proposal was amended. The next proposal concerned: printing of identification numbers at the sidewall rather than interior of the vehicle to enable clear identification of the tire model. Consumers were expected to choose tire that were not included in the recall through proper and accurate identification processes. Also this proposal was not able to pass on as it was deemed to be ineffective method of control.
This case stated slightly as investigations’ on Firestone& Rubber Company started in 1998. Anna Werner, a news reporter approached a lawyer who worked on a civil case of firestone company mishap for station KHOU in Houston, the case involved fatal accident caused by defective firestone. In 1999 the case was heard and Firestone Company quoted that “it had full confidence in its tires” and also the reporter quoted of firestone blaming the accidents’ on the driver error, it quoted that “blaming drivers error”
Hearings of the case started in September 2000 in Washington DC through analyzing claims of Firestone Company related on tire failures on the Ford SUVs. The congressional hearings raised several questions regarding firestone efficiency. Darrell Batson, one of the company employee testified on Firestone tire mishaps, he disclosed that no inspection were received as they passed through supervisors or inspectors and on use of excessive benzene which damaged quality of the tire. Other employees testified on payment through an hourly rate by meeting quotas of tire production. NHTSA investigators had also received complaints of blow outs, and tread separations from numerous consumers, and directly linked deaths caused by firestone tire failure. After the court found out that the dealings of firestone 500 radial were well known to the company directors and the major producer firm a case was filed.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was involved in the suit and in the effort of maintaining the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Act the court fined the Firestone & rubber company $500,000 to compensate for the world class crime committed. Involvement by different stakeholders in multiple lawsuits ensured payment of the highly fines which financially and economically crippled the Firestone $ Rubber Company; the image created to the public diminished the quality of products supplied by the firestone and also lowered their sales.
In conclusion there are still exists low resolve factors in the Firestone tread separation and Ford Company tag wars. A blame game has evolved between these manufacturers resulting to the end of the companies’ dealership and partnership agreements. In the end results Firestone $ Rubber Company confidence level on its tires has minimized affecting its brand both economically and financially.