I work for a Ford
dealership, in the body shop office. Those who come to us asking about the recalls get directed to the service department for all inquiries. I have seen a few examples of what one of those faulty tires can do on Explorers that did not
flip over and kill anyone, and it was enough. The force was enough to bend a quarter panel in half, to batter a fender like taffy
Even before the recall, I had seen Explorers that tipped over or that flipped from collisions. I have talked with the people who survived, since we don't get the cars to fix that people die in. But there is still blood and broken glass, strands of hair in the windshield, brown fingerprints of hands that you can imagine reached out for anything that would hold them in the darkness of the highway at night.
Yesterday, a painter told me of local news concerning one of the Explorers that flipped due to a Firestone tire. A woman with a newborn. The newborn is still in critical condition. Now the scenes on the news are even that much more real to me.
When I go to run errands on my lunch break, people see the Ford logo on my shirt and extend their sympathies, that not only did we promote a faulty product on our highest selling SUV, but we also must suck it up and tolerate thousands of paranoid motorists whose tires are just fine. Paranoia is one of the four pillars of the auto body repair industry.
How many times have I heard my car will never be the same after this wreck or they (the insurance company) should put a new paint job on my whole car even though it's 8 years old and fading?
No one trusts us, and I guess they have no reason to. We're the bottom feeders, the body shop.
But you're supposed to trust the people who sold you your vehicle. When the service department tells you it did a 15 point inspection on your car, then a week later your head gasket blows and you come to find out that they only changed your oil and filter and charged you $100 for it, you can only feel rightfully betrayed. But is the Firestone scare different? Ford put its trust in a faulty product. There are backlashes for just being associated with things that go wrong.
When I watch the news associating Ford Explorers to Firestone tires, it is more as a side note than an accusation. What a shame it is. The irony of it all. I have heard the PR assistant at work bitch that she has to send out letters to hundreds of thousands of owners who purchased their Explorers from us, over the last 2 years we've been here, warning them of the recall. She doesn't do it because she wants to, or that there is a need, since the media has done a better job at warning people. No, she does it because the owners of the dealership want to say they did everything they could to warn everyone, to protect the interest of future Ford buyers and themselves.
Being an employee of Ford and not Firestone, I am safer. Being an employee of the body shop office and not the service department or sales, I am safer. Not being an Explorer owner makes me even safer. But when I see those cars upside down on the road, all I am is sorry.