“Our testing and science show our tires perform extremely well,” Lamps said. “However, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our company, our employees, our dealers and our customers if we replace the limited number of tires in question and close this chapter in the company's history.”
Firestone will replace P235/75R15 and P255/70R16 Wilderness AT tires produced before May 1998 as original equipment onExplorer and Mercury Mountaineer sport utility vehicles, the company said. More than 95% of the tires were made in North Carolina and Illinois plants, the rest in Oklahoma City.
Firestone rejected a request in July from U.S. safety regulators for another recall of the Wilderness AT tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been probing 203 highway deaths, mostly in Explorers, following Firestone tire tread separations. Last August, Firestone replaced 6.5-million tires as part of a voluntary recall.
Ford Motor Co. said last May that it would spend $3 billion to replace all 13-million Firestone tires that remained on its vehicles because the equipment had elevated failure rates. Firestone denied that claim, saying its tires are safe.
Information about the recall is available on the Internet.