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Nasser went 'berserk' at recall delay

Ford chief executive Jac Nasser “went berserk” when told the recall of 6.5m Firestone tyres would take until the end of 2001, he told a press dinner at the show. “We knew it had to be quicker – it could not be quick enough – and it will be finished by the end of November,” he said.

Mr Nasser based his speech on the recall which followed links between Firestone tyre bursts and more than 100 deaths in car crashes in the US and South America.

Because of the severity of the problem, he took personal responsibility. “The Firestone recall strikes at the heart of our company and our values,” said Mr Nasser. “It was a test of our commitment to becoming the world's leading consumer company for automotive products and services. How we acted – and how our customers viewed those actions – were at the heart of the matter.”

Ford suspended production at three of its assembly plants to increase tyre supplies for the recall and worked with other tyre manufacturers which increased production to provide replacements.

Mr Nasser said Ford had proposed a series of reforms that were already in progress to ensure such a problem could not happen again.

Turning to other issues, Mr Nasser said Ford believed the internet was the major force transforming the global automotive industry and all commerce.

“It will not be long before there is a seamless web connection between all involved – consumers, dealers, manufacturers and suppliers,” he said.

In the next five years Ford would introduce 45 new and “freshened” products, he added.

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