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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 14:06 GMT
Firestone in plea to Japanese parent
Ford Explorer
The company launched a massive recall of tyres fitted to Ford Explorer vehicles
US tyre company Firestone is to get a $1.3bn cash injection from its parent company in Japan to cover debts incurred as a result of its tyre recall.

The Firestone company will suffer a special loss of $1.61bn this year.

Firestone's tyres - which were fitted to Ford's four wheel drive Explorer model - have been linked with 271 deaths and more than 800 injuries from roll-over accidents.

Its parent company Bridgestone is expected to still make a profit, with net profits forecast at $145m - compared with an earlier forecast of $80.6m - for this year.

This is largely thanks to restructuring at Firestone, which resulted in tax benefits for the parent company.

If these benefits are excluded, then Bridgestone is likely to post pre-tax profit of $613m.

This compares with the $846m previously forecast.

"We have seen an impact on sales following our voluntary recall product recall and the attacks on the United States in September," Bridgestone president Shigeo Watanabe said.

Profitability?

Mr Watanabe argued that the restructuring of the Firestone operation should see the company return to profitability next year.

The restructuring will not affect a raft of lawsuits that claim that its tyres failed when fitted to Ford Explorers.

The experience was a root cause for the sacking of Ford chief Jacques Nasser earlier in November.

The bad blood between Ford and Bridgestone - the two have blamed one another - led to the sundering of the 100-year relationship, established well before Firestone was bought by Bridgestone.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Vicki Broadbent
"The Firestone debacle claimed another victim in former Ford boss Jacques Nasser"
See also:

08 Nov 01 | Business
Bridgestone settles tyre case
11 Jan 01 | Business
Bridgestone boss resigns
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