Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

September 22, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

Program Announced in Response to Reports of Recalled Tire Sales

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., today announced Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. will begin a "bounty program" to remove recalled tires from the inventories of all used tire sellers to prevent recalled tires from being placed on vehicles. Under the new Bridgestone/Firestone bounty program, any person who returns used recalled tires by following the Bridgestone/Firestone return program will receive $10 per tire. Seven statesí Attorney Generals signed off in support of the program, which Curran conceded is a step in the right direction, but cautioned that the incentive may not be enough to keep unsafe tires off the streets.

In a letter sent today to Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., Curran reiterated earlier concerns for the number of recalled tires still in circulation and questioned the impact of the incentive. "If a dealer can sell the tires to a consumer for $20 per tire, who in turn can go to Bridgestone and get four brand new $100 tires for free, it is unclear how this program alone is going to make a difference. There has to be some kind of accountability and policing to keep these unsafe tires off the road. That is my priority...keeping unsafe tires off of Maryland roads," said Attorney General Curran.

Anyone who wants to return recalled tires for the $10 bounty should contact Bridgestone/Firestone at 1-800-847-3272. All tire-selling businesses nationwide should be receiving a letter from Firestone explaining the bounty program. Firestone expects to mail some 40,000 letters today.

Additionally, Bridgestone/Firestone will pick up and replace any new, unused tires in any dealerís stock at no charge. Bridgestone/Firestone continues its reimbursement program, under which consumers can buy replacements made by competitors at any tire retailer, as long as the replacement sizes and models have been approved by Ford as suitable for the vehicle. Customers will be reimbursed by Firestone up to $100 per tire.