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Editor's Note

Ford vs. Firestone: Ain't PR grand?

This story appears in the June 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

In the beginning, it was a beautiful relationship. If you look at photos from back then, circa early 20th century, you'd think Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford were brothers. In one shot, the pair is seated comfortably in lawn chairs, clearly chuckling together about something, the true picture of synergy at its finest. And now, nearly 100 years later, one of the most notable business partnerships in history is coming undone at the seams.

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Last month, following intense debates revolving around the stability of either Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s tires or Ford Motor Co.'s Explorer, Firestone CEO John Lampe elected to sever all ties with Ford. The move comes after last year's tire-recall debacle, where both companies were implicated in a series of deadly rollovers. Millions of tire recalls later, with no concurrence on whether the injuries and deaths could be blamed on either the shredded tires or the SUV, the two companies came to an impasse. And as impasses go, they had to part company-though their founding fathers might have felt differently.

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