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State to get Ford settlement

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma will receive $300,000 as part of a settlement with Ford Motor Co. over safety risks associated with its sport utility vehicle and tires.

The state's share comes from a $51.5 million national settlement, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Friday.

All 50 states and three territories sued the company for allegedly failing to inform consumers of safety risks with equipping Ford Explorers with Bridgestone/Firestone tires.

According to the lawsuit, Ford exaggerated the Explorer's handling and loading capabilities and made false claims that the after-market tires were ``specifically engineered'' for Ford vehicles.

``Under the agreement, Ford will pay the states a total of $15.9 million,'' Edmondson said. ``Oklahoma's share of the money will be used to investigate and prosecute violations of our state's consumer protection laws.''

Besides the cash settlement, Ford will have to spend $30 million on public service announcements to promote SUV tire safety. The company also will pay the states' legal costs of $5.6 million.

Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. signed a national settlement last year related to the advertising and sale of tires that had high rates of tread separation. Oklahoma received $530,000 under that agreement.

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