Navigator Tires may be recalled

Tuesday, September 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON – Continental General Tire plans to announce a recall Tuesday of the 16-inch tire that was standard equipment on the 1998 and 1999 Lincoln Navigator.

Continental and Ford Motor Co., which makes the Navigator, confirmed that they would brief federal authorities on the tire's warranty and claims data Tuesday morning. A source close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity said a recall is expected to be announced after the meeting.

Lincoln spokesman Jim Cain would not discuss the details of the information that will be shared with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but said it would be released after the meeting.

Continental officials could not be reached for comment.

Highway agency spokesman Rae Tyson said he had no information about what would be discussed at the meeting.

Ford and Continental said last week that they were investigating six reports from Saudi Arabia about problems involving Continental tires on Lincoln Navigators. Two of the reports were from this year, and four were from last year.

The companies stressed that the warranty and claims data includes no reports of serious accidents, fatalities or serious injuries. Mr. Cain said there have been reports of property damage.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions that data indicate the overall death toll from defective Firestone tires on Ford Explorers is higher than previously reported.

The paper said its analysis of a newly released federal database showed the number of fatalities in Ford Explorer crashes in which police reports listed tire problems as a contributing factor more than doubled last year, to 52.

Federal highway safety regulators list 88 people killed in accidents involving the tires since 1992. Twenty of those deaths were in 1999.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is planning to release a revised count, perhaps as early as Tuesday, the newspaper said.