The Firestone Tire Controversy

 
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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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Case Details:

Price:

Case Code : BECG005 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges

Themes

Ethics in Business
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1991 - 2002
Pub. Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Firestone tire company, NHTSA, NUTS
Industry : Automobile Industry
Countries : USA

Abstract:

The case gives an overview of the controversy involving the US automobile giant, Ford and the Japanese tire manufacturer, Bridgestone/Firestone. By 2001, 174 people were killed in the accidents and crashes involving the Ford Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle which were equipped with Firestone tires. This led to the recall of tires by Firestone and it stopped supplying to Ford. Firestone alleged that the problem was with the Ford Explorer and not Firestone tires. Ford defended the safety of the Explorer saying its statistics has shown that it is safer than other Sport Utility Vehicles. Ford alleged that it was the defective tires that led to the accidents and recalled 13 million tires for replacement.

Business Ethics Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Ethics, Case Studies

Firestone insisted that the tires are safe and Ford is replacing them to divert attention away from safety problems with its Explorer. From the case students are expected to understand the ethical dimensions of the controversy. Both Ford and Firestone were aware of the problem in Firestone tires but did not take any action until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) intervened.

Issues:

Was it ethical on the part of Ford and Firestone to cover the problems in the Firestone tires?

What was the quality of information provided to the public by both the companies?

The role of NHTSA in the entire controversy.

Contents:

  Page No.
Introduction 1
The Controversy 2
Firestone's Response to the Crisis 3
Ford's Response 3
The Controversy Deepens 3
The Trial Begins 4
The Future of Firestone and Ford 4
Exhibits 5

Keywords:

The Firestone Tire Controversy, US automobile giant, Japanese tire, Tire, manufacturer, Bridgestone, 2001, 174 people, accidents, crashes, Ford Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle, Firestone tires, 13 mn

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