Goodyear to replace 200,000 tires

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plans to voluntarily replace about 200,000 light-truck tires that it says have been linked to 11 deaths in accidents involving tread separations, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition on Friday. Goodyear is not admitting there is a defect with the tires, and insists all of its Load Range E tires are safe, the Journal said. The world's largest tire maker's program calls for replacing 16-inch tires used on 15-passenger vans and ambulances from model years 1996 to 2000, the Journal said. Goodyear was not immediately available to comment on the report. The tires were sold under 51 different brand names, including private-label brands produced for specific retailers, the Journal said. Tread separations led to the massive Firestone tire recall in 2000. Firestone, a unit of Japan's Bridgestone Corp. , recalled 6.5 million tires in August 2000 while Ford Motor Co. voluntarily recalled another 13.0 million Firestone tires in May of 2001. The industry recalls roughly tripled Goodyear's shipments in the third quarter 2001.

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