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Old 09-23-2000, 08:52 AM   #1
LDB_2001SC2_#54of99
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Default Firestone forever by Saturn contract

When Saturn was setting things up in the beginning they took a page from the Japanese and signed a lifetime contract to use Firestone tires so I guess we can forget ever getting really good tires from the factory. This is info from a source I trust so I'm pretty sure it's correct.

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Old 09-23-2000, 09:06 AM   #2
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That assumes that there will forever be a Firestone. I'm not sure that it is in Bridgestone's best interest to maintain the brand at this point. Ask your source what happens then. I noticed that Bridgestone is running full page ads this weekend touting its exclusive tire supply to the Formula 1 teams who are at Indy. No mention of a certain subsidiary company or Ford SUV's (grin).

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Old 09-23-2000, 09:41 AM   #3
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Even before the SUV debacle, Firestone tires did not enjoy a particularly good reputation among knowledgable consumers. Now, because of what has happened and how Bridgestone/Firestone handled the situation, I believe that Firestone, as a brand name, is headed for the scrap heap of history.

"Lifetime contract" or not, Saturn would be ill-advised to go down with the sinking ship.

This revalation about the lifetime contract gives a lot of credibility to the politicians' favourite statement: "Never say 'never'" (or in this case "always").

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Old 09-23-2000, 11:12 AM   #4
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There is a big question whether Firestone will stay as a brand name, all contracts have exceptions written into them.

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Old 09-23-2000, 05:58 PM   #5
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Certainly if Firestone as a label disappears, and after this it may, there will be no more Firestones on Saturns. I don't know if the contract then reverts to Bridgestone or evaporates. Personally, I prefer Bridgestones anyway and plan to put those on the car when I wear these enough to justify new tires, if you know what I mean. It is terrible this has happened but the worst of the recalled tires has problems in 241.3 of 1 million tires, the next 18.x and the third is 14.x per million. Even 241 per million is an extremely low number. I wish there were a way to know the circumstances and conditions involving those 241 that went bad.

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Old 09-23-2000, 07:03 PM   #6
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There seems to be at least some soft center of the controversy where Ford does not appear to be totally uninvolved: softer tire pressures to keep the Explorer from flipping over may have contributed to the failures.
I doubt that the whole truth will ever be resolved, but both companies (and SUVs in general) may have a long lasting stain. Possibly Firestone will go away as a separate brand, perhaps Ford executive Jac Nassar will take a fall, who knows? People are fickle and may forget the whole thing in 2 years. Firestone had a previous giant recall (of their Firestone 500 tires) several decades ago, and they survived that (but that happened in a far less media intense time). I think it is interesting that (the so far silent head of Ford) Willian Ford's (great?)grandmother was a Firestone.

If this lifetime Firestone deal is real I think that Saturn could get out of it easily after this scandal, if not due to the serious problems with their Affinity tires on the L series, which Saturn really did not need!

Jim

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Old 09-24-2000, 08:44 AM   #7
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Well, if this is true and I happen to buy another Saturn down the road (which at this point I am happy to say is a likely scenario), I wouild do exactly what I did the day after I received my new LS-2. I would drive it right over to the tire/wheel specialist that I do business with and have the ####ty Firestone's sent straight to Hell. I will simply allocate it in my budget to do so, or perhaps negotiate it into the purchase of the car with the dealer. NO PROBLEMS. Nobody is going to tell me that I have to live with an inferior product attached to my car.

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Old 09-25-2000, 03:21 AM   #8
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Default Firestone forever . . . NOT TRUE!

There's no perpetual contract.
Consider this excerpt from the Washington Post (7/2/96):

John Michaud, financial secretary of the UAW local in Spring Hill, Tenn., where Saturn is
based, wrote a letter Friday to Bridgestone/Firestone President Arthur W. Stuart, telling
Stuart of Saturn's offer to replace the tires at buyers' request. He also alluded to the
expiration of Saturn's contract with Bridgestone/Firestone.
"Those issues will be scrutinized before a new contract is awarded," Michaud wrote of Bridgestone/Firestone's labor problems. "We hope your . . . situation will be resolved to everyone's satisfaction prior to the expiration of the current contract."

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Old 09-25-2000, 06:26 AM   #9
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As we know from the head gasket issue, Ford's not ready to step up to the plate on anything until they get hit with a class action.

It's obvious that Ford told Firestone just how much they'd pay for a tire and Firestone cut corners to make one at the price.

By putting minimum tires on a heavy truck (not factoring in a realistic load weight) and telling customers to inflate to the minimum safe pressure, Ford took a big part in this.

Firestone, of course, didn't have the cojones to say no and demand that Ford use tires with a margin of safety to allow for loading and customer inattention to tire care.

This is just what you get when the bean counters tell the engineers how to make a product.

Particularly vile since the Explorer is Ford's most profitable line. They could have added a couple of bucks to the price to buy proper tires.

Criminal liability is what's needed. Money's just money, but putting a few corporate fat cats in the slammer might quickly change corporate values.

Just my opinion.

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Old 09-25-2000, 08:38 AM   #10
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True accountability of parties involved? Wow, what a novel concept. Somehow I don't expect to see it happen though. Too many lawyers around to let something like that happen.

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