Bridgestone, Ford Making Amends?
TOKYO (AP) _ Bridgestone Corp. of Japan has reached an agreement in principle with Ford Motor Co. to settle disputes over tires and normalize business relations, a news report said Sunday.
The breakthrough came after meetings in the United States from November to December held by Bridgestone president Shigeo Watanabe; John Lampe, chief executive of its American subsidiary; and top Ford executive Nick Scheele, the Yomiuri Shimbun said, citing unnamed sources.
Details of the agreement, including conditions of the normalized business relationship, will be hammered out later this month, the report said.
Bridgestone officials were not immediately available for comment Sunday. A Ford spokesman did not immediately return a message left Sunday.
During the upcoming talks, the two companies are also expected to discuss whether Bridgestone will reimburse Ford for the $13 million it spent on recalling tires made by Bridgestone’s U.S. subsidiary, Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding, the Yomiuri said.
The newspaper said the companies also discuss whether Ford will resume using Firestone-made tires. Ford may gradually begin using them again under a proposal being discussed, the Yomiuri said.
Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford ended a 95-year relationship last May amid disagreements over who’s to blame for accidents involving Ford Explorers with Firestone tires during the summer of 2000.
Since then, William Clay Ford Jr., great-grandson of Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, replaced Jacques Nasser as CEO of the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker. Ford has said he would like to repair relations with Bridgestone/Firestone.
Ford Motor Co. believes the rift between the companies, which each blaming the other, is bad for their corporate images. It also said purchasing Bridgestone/Firestone could help the company cut costs, the report said.