Text of Letter From Firestone to Ford

This is the text of the letter that John Lampe, U.S. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. chief executive, president and chairman, sent Monday to Jacques Nasser, chief executive of Ford Motor Co., severing the century-long business relationship between the companies:

Dear Mr. Nasser:

Today, I am informing you that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is ending its tire supply relationship with the Ford Motor Company. While we will honor our existing contractual obligations to you, we will not enter into any new tire sales agreements in the Americas with Ford beginning today.

Business relationships, like personal ones, are built upon trust and mutual respect. We have come to the conclusion that we can no longer supply tires to Ford since the basic foundation of our relationship has been seriously eroded. This is not a decision we make lightly after almost 100 years of history. But we must look to the future and the best interests of our company, our employees and our other customers.

Our analysis suggests that there are significant safety issues with a substantial segment of Ford Explorers. We have made your staff aware of our concerns. They have steadfastly refused to acknowledge those issues.

We have always said that in order to insure the safety of the driving public, it is crucial that there be a true sharing of information concerning the vehicle as well as the tires. You simply are not willing to do that. We believe you are attempting to divert scrutiny of your vehicle by casting doubt on the quality of Firestone tires. These tires are safe, and as we have said before, when we have a problem, we will acknowledge that problem and fix it. We expect you to do the same.

I wish you and the Ford Motor Company continued success and regret that we cannot continue our relationship going forward.


John T. Lampe