Firestone Tire and Rubber Company

From Academic Kids

Firestone tire
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Firestone tire

The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was founded by Harvey Firestone in the late 19th century to supply pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles and befriended Henry Ford, the first industrialist to produce them using the techniques of mass production. Firestone used this relationship to become the original equipment supplier of Ford Motor Company automobiles, and was also active in the replacement market.

Firestone was originally based in Akron, Ohio, also the hometown of its archrival, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Together, the two companies were the largest suppliers of automotive tires in North America for over three-quarters of a century. However, in the late 1970s Firestone received tremendous amounts of negative publicity and was the subject of numerous lawsuits over an allegedly defectively-designed automotive tire, the steel-belted radial Firestone 500. The company never fully recovered from this, and eventually was forced to sell out to a Japanese rival, Bridgestone, which acquired it in 1988. The combined Bridgestone/Firestone North American operations are now based in Nashville, Tennessee.

After the merger, allegations of defective tire designs continued, especially in 2000, when an abnormally high failure rate in their Wilderness AT, Firestone ATX, and ATX II tires resulted in multiple lawsuits, as well as an eventual product recall.

For 35 years, the company sponsored the radio and television show The Voice of Firestone.

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