Ford 'aided faulty tyres cover-up'

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Evidence came to light yesterday suggesting that Ford and the Bridgestone/Firestone company colluded to cover up defects in car tyres three years before a mass recall.

Evidence came to light yesterday suggesting that Ford and the Bridgestone/Firestone company colluded to cover up defects in car tyres three years before a mass recall.

The reports emerged as Congress questioned executives from the companies, trying to establish what they knew about safety problems with certain tyres - and when.

Up to 88 people in the US and 46 in Venezuela are believed to have died in accidents linked to tyres fitted to Ford Explorers. Tread peeled away from the main part of the tyre without warning, often at high speed. On 9 August Ford and Firestone announced a "voluntary" recall affecting 6.5 million tyres.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press suggested Firestone, the US subsidiary of the Japanese-owned Bridgestone, had been collecting data about the failure of certain models between 1997 and 1999, despite earlier denials that it compiled such information.

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