Firestone's safety push goes online

NASHVILLE, TN: Bridgestone/Firestone, seeking to repair its battered public image, has launched TireSafety.com, a new Web site.

NASHVILLE, TN: Bridgestone/Firestone, seeking to repair its battered public image, has launched TireSafety.com, a new Web site.

NASHVILLE, TN: Bridgestone/Firestone, seeking to repair its battered public image, has launched TireSafety.com, a new Web site.

The site displays the Firestone name and contains information about proper tire maintenance. Visitors can register for e-mail alerts telling them when to check tire pressure. A free tire gauge is being offered to people who register.

Firestone's internal marketing personnel created TireSafety.com. Outside PR agency Ketchum, taken on during the height of Firestone's tire recall problems last year, was not involved, said Woody McMillin, manager of motor sports and consumer products PR at Firestone.

The tire company hopes the site will show the public that 'we are caring,' McMillin said. 'Bottom line: you have to have the highest regard for customer safety. We and other tire manufacturers probably have not done a good enough job of telling people how to maintain their tires.'

Firestone has pointed to improper tire inflation as one of the possible causes for accidents involving its tires and Ford Explorer SUVs that have resulted in at least 119 deaths and numerous lawsuits against the tire maker and Ford.

'We've had some rocks thrown at us,' said McMillin. 'I don't think that we've done a good enough job in talking about tire safety.'

The company will promote the new site on its corporate site, with Web advertising, point-of-purchase displays at its Firestone stores and through inserts in its Firestone credit card mailings.



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