Washington The federal government wants more information from Ford Motor Co. about the overseas recall of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. tires that began nine months before U.S. officials started looking into whether the tires played a role in scores of fatal accidents.
Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Wednesday that the information Ford previously submitted "raised some more questions," so the agency wants additional documentation.
The Firestone tires the NHTSA is investigating are standard equipment on the Ford Explorer and other vehicles.
Ford sent the federal agency 40 pages on the foreign recalls on Aug. 3, including notices sent to dealers and customers in those countries that described which vehicles were being recalled and procedures for replacement.
Now the NHTSA is asking Ford for information on Firestone defects that have been reported anywhere else in the world, details about its products in the countries where the recalls were issued and the speed rating of tires used on all Ford Explores sold oversees.
Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said Wednesday that he did not have any information about the NHTSA's new request.
Ford started recalling tires in the Middle East in August 1999, followed by Malaysia and Thailand in February, and Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador in May.
Bridgstone/Firestone announced a U.S. recall on Aug. 9 of 6.5 million Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires that have been the source of hundreds of complaints to the NHTSA, including reports of 62 deaths and more than 100 injuries.
Ford officials said the company did not tell U.S. officials about the foreign recalls because they believed problems with tires in those countries were related to high temperatures and unique driving conditions, including faster speeds.