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Archive for Friday, May 25, 2001

GM, Nissan to ease away from Firestone

May 25, 2001

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— In another blow to Bridgestone/Firestone, General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, plans to stop using Firestone tires on certain models this summer and will instead go with the Bridgestone brand.

The decision follows a move by Ford earlier this week to recall 13 million Firestone Wilderness AT tires.

"We listen to our customers, and our customers were telling us they were having some concerns about Firestone," GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan said.

Nissan also said Thursday it would drop Firestones from its retooled Altima, though the automaker said the move was made because the car needs tires not available from Bridgestone/Firestone.

GM uses Firestones as standard equipment on 14 of its models. It has not identified which vehicles are affected by its decision.

Rhadigan said the move began taking shape in late 1999, well before Bridgestone/Firestone's recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires last August. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has linked at least 174 deaths and more than 700 injuries to the tires.

"A number of factors went into this, and last summer's recall was one of them," Rhadigan said.

In a statement, Bridgestone/Firestone said: "We look forward to our continuing relationship with GM and to working with them through this process."

GM stock rose $1.41 to close at $56.59 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Ford was down 14 cents at $25.65. In Tokyo, Bridgestone/Firestone's parent, Bridgestone Corp., fell 2 percent to $10.40.

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