Tire Maker Tries to Re-Inflate Image with E-Mail Safety Mailings

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Automobile tire manufacturer is attempting to bolster its tarnished image by creating a Web site that offers tire safety data and information.


The company also has created an e-mail campaign to encourage customers to drive safely.


The new Web site, www.tiresafety.com, provides size and classification information, proper maintenance schedules, technology data and a replacement guide. It also offers a free tire pressure gauge to those who register. Users can opt in to receive a monthly e-mail message that reminds them to check their tire pressure and the proper way to do so.


"We became aware during the recall situation last year that people don't check their tires often enough," Bridgestone/Firestone spokesman Woody McMillin said. "You can lose 1 pound of pressure per month."


Bridgestone/Firestone, Nashville, TN, recalled 6.5 million 15-inch tires last August because of failures that the federal government determined caused accidents resulting in at least 148 deaths. Most of the recalled tires were installed as original equipment on Ford Motor Co.'s Explorer sport utility vehicles.


While sharing some of the blame for the tire failures, Bridgestone/Firestone claimed that Ford should bear the brunt of the blame because its "vehicle load levels and low standard tire pressure" were a direct cause of the accidents.


Bridgestone/Firestone is addressing the tire pressure issue in its monthly e-mails. Ford increased its recommended tire pressure on its Explorer models just after the tire recall.


"We thought that [the monthly e-mails] would be the most effective way of reaching people," McMillin said. "We could put a stuffer in with our credit card or a sign up in our stores, but how many people would pay attention to that?"


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