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CNN Today

Motorists Replacing Firestone Tires with Other Brands

Aired September 6, 2000 - 1:20 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: While Congress discusses this Firestone controversy, motorists with recalled tires still are trying to get replacements.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is at a tire shop in Pembroke Pines, Florida, with more about that.

What's happening there, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Lou, as you know, nationwide by now, nearly two million tires have been replaced as part of the recall that began on August 9th. And, about 25, 000 of them have been replaced at Tire Kingdom stores throughout Florida and the state of North Carolina.

Now, an interesting dilemma facing Tire Kingdom stores, they have found that although this store has all kinds of Firestone replacement tires, including this wilderness all terrain tire, that customers coming in don't want to have any part of Firestone tires anymore. They're opting for other brands, other models, the same size, but other brands.

Now, Tire Kingdom says that that does not bode well for the future of the Firestone brand and this company also wonders about the continuing debate over the future of Firestone and whether it can rebound from its tire troubles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD FABRIKANT, TIRE KINGDOM: It's going to be tough. It going to be tough. Customers want to know if they have Firestone on their car, they want them off. Whether or not it's the recall, whether or not it's a light truck, sport utility application, they want the Firestones off. And, as a company we have offered to do that. We are adjusting non-recalled products so the customer could feel safe driving their vehicle, not having the product on their car.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Lou, this is one of the wilderness at tires that was brought in for replacement. Company's holding on to these for future reimbursement from Bridgestone/Firestone.

And, what's happening is when customers come in and they don't want to get the Firestone tires, they are replacing them with other brands and they're also giving people credit. Or, rather, customers are coming in and have tires that are not part of the recall. What Tire Kingdom is doing is giving them credit for the unused portion of the tread on their tires toward an upgrade.

So, that's what's happening down here in Florida. And, people here are naturally very interested in congressional hearing that are going on this day.

Susan Candiotti, CNN reporting live in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

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