Essay on Ford/Firestone Rollover Deaths

4817 Words Sep 3rd, 2009 20 Pages
FORD/FIRESTONE TIRE TREAD ROLLOVER DEATHS
Case Details:
Describe in detail the illegal/unethical behavior you will be analyzing in your case analysis. You may choose any case of interest from your text or the news.
In 2001, more than 175 deaths and 700 injuries in the United States were the result of Ford Explorers rolling over after the tread separated on Firestone tires with which the Explorers had been equipped. Firestone’s Wilderness AT tires were standard with Ford Explorers in 2000. Since Ford Explorer SUVs had a much higher center of gravity and were more prone to rollover than many other types of vehicles. As a result tire failure became an especially dangerous situation which led to devastating rollover accidents.
At the
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That didn't deter Ford from using the same suspension on the new Explorer, which allowed the automaker to build the SUV on the same assembly lines as the Ranger pickup. This choice soon produced unsettling results. While undergoing handling maneuvers in 1989, an Explorer prototype showed a greater tendency to lift its wheels while turning, a possible prelude to rollovers, than even the Bronco II. The test report observed that the Explorer had to be "at least equivalent to the Bronco II in these maneuvers to be considered acceptable for production."
Radial tires were introduced to the US market by rivals Goodrich and Michelin in the late 1960s, and Firestone lacked one. The first radial tire developed and produced by Firestone was the ill-fated Firestone 500 Radial. Manufacturing of the new tire was performed on equipment designed to manufacture bias-ply tires. During the 1970s, Firestone experienced major problems with the Firestone 500 radial. The Firestone 500 steel-belted radials began to show signs of separation of the tread at high speeds. While the cause was never proved, it is believed that the failure of bonding cements used by Firestone to hold the tread to the tire carcass, may have allowed water to penetrate the tire which in turn may have caused the internal steel wire to corrode. In March 1978, NHTSA announced a formal investigation into defects of the Firestone 500. The NHTSA investigation found that the tread separation problem was most

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