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Crisis of Confidence: Government Safety Officials Launch Investigation into Another Firestone Tire ModelAired October 2, 2000 - 1:37 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: It could be another tough week for Bridgestone/Firestone. Government safety officials have launched an investigation into another Firestone tire model.
CNN's Susan Candiotti reports that the latest probe is sure to deepen public skepticism.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Near a Firestone dealership in Manhattan, a Ford customer unaware of the latest NHTSA investigation. Instead, Donald Gorton is worried about the Firestone tires on his Expedition, despite a letter from Ford his tires are fine.
DONALD GORTON, EXPEDITION OWNER: As early as next week, I am going in to get my tire changed regardless of the letter.
CANDIOTTI: Federal investigators are taking a closer look at Firestone's 15, 16 and 16 1/2-inch Steeltex tires, original equipment on at least 40 percent of Ford's super duty F-250 and 350 pickup trucks, on 2000 and 2001 Ford Excursions, as well as Chevrolet Suburbans, Express Vans, and the C-Savanna Van.
Tread separation and blowouts are among the 169 Steeltex complaints on record with NHTSA, all but two filed since last month, when Firestone recalled 6.5 million ATX, ATXII, and Wilderness AT tires from the company's Decatur plant.
CHRISTINE KARBOWIAK, FIRESTONE: We urge anyone who has a concern about a tire or a service to visit a company-owned Firestone Tire and Service Center, where their tires can be inspected and their inflation levels checked.
CANDIOTTI: Firestone insists employee morale is high. The tire maker is focused on the ongoing recall. Industry analysts remain skeptical Firestone can surmount its troubles.
KARL BRAUER, EDMUNDS.COM: They need to isolate what exactly happened, and that'll be the first step, so at least the public knows why this happened, and then at that point we will be able to judge whether if there's any excuse or not for it. CANDIOTTI (on camera): Here at Firestone's headquarters, the company is researching how many of the Steeltex tires are on the road, and how many customer complaints about them it has on file, as the tire maker deals with yet another setback.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Nashville.
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