Ford to allow choice of tires for Explorer

Friday, September 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it would let customers decide whether the next version of its Explorer sport-utility vehicle rides on Firestone tires.

The move comes as both companies' images have been battered by a recall of 6.5 million tires, most of them installed as standard equipment on Explorers, which have been linked to at least 101 deaths and more than 400 injuries.

Ford has lined up Michelin as a supplier and is in talks with Goodyear, a Ford spokeswoman said.

Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. contended that it would still be the sole tire supplier when the 2002 Explorer goes on sale next year.

The Ford spokeswoman said that was incorrect and that Michelins would be available when the sport-utility hits showrooms.

She said the automaker had decided to use Michelin as a supplier for the 2002 Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer well before the Aug. 9 recall. Ford earlier said that Michelin would supply slightly more tires than Firestone in the size used on 80 percent of the Explorers and Mountaineers.