Tire Scandal Deflates Public Image

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DETROIT ( -- Most consumers have an unfavorable opinion of Ford Motor Co.'s Explorer and Bridgestone/Firestone tires, according to the results of a Gallup poll released today.

Sixty-four percent of consumers said they have an unfavorable opinion of Firestone tires, while 51% said the same about Ford's Explorer sport utility vehicle. Fifty-six percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of Bridgestone/Firestone, while 35% hold the same opinion regarding Ford Motor Co.

Forty-nine percent said they are more concerned about the safety of their tires as a result of the controversy that erupted in August 2000 after the tire maker voluntarly recalled 6.5 million ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires. Dozens of crashes and fatal accidents had involved the popular Explorers, which were outfitted with Firestone tires.

The Gallup Organization surveyed more than 2,000 adults earlier this summer; the margin of error is plus or minus 3%

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