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Business Words in the News

Two well known North American companies, Ford and Firestone, have each accused the other's products of causing crashes. Firestone, the tyre maker, wants the American government to investigate Ford's vehicles. Stephen Evans reports from New York.
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Ford Explorer 1st June 2001

U.S. corporate fight

NEWS 1  
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Ford and Firestone,two American corporate legends, have already severed their links, which go back nearly a century since Harvey Firestone sold his first tyre to Henry Ford. Now they're going for each other's jugular over why Explorers, Ford's best-selling four-by-four sports off-road vehicle, have toppled over when tyres blow out. Ford says it's the tyres; Firestone's now blasted back with a report on the Explorer done at Ohio State University. The engineers there tried different makes of vehicle with different makes of tyres and concluded, as they put it, it's a vehicle problem, not a tyre problem.


corporate legends - very famous and well known companies

severed their links - cut all connections

going for each other's jugular - making strong attacks with the aim of seriously damaging each other

toppled over - fell over

blow out - lose air in the tyre very quickly

makes - a manufacturer's model is a make, for example, Firestone produce a make of tyre

NEWS 2  
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The engineers say it's harder for the driver of an Explorer to keep control if a tyre bursts. In such a sudden situation, the engineers conclude, the vehicle turns more sharply than the driver intends as he tries to steer out of the accident. Firestone's now taken the gloves off in its fight by asking the American government to investigate the vehicle. Ford replied to the Firestone report by saying that what it called the 'real world data' showed the Explorer was one of the safest vehicles on the road. It's also started a big advertising campaign this week. Both companies are fighting for their corporate reputations -- and in this business, where safety's involved, reputations add up to billions of dollars in sales.


to keep control - to stop the car from crashing

to steer - to choose which direction the vehicle travels

taken the gloves off - started to fight very seriously

'real world data' - information gathered from actual experience

reputations - a company's reputation is how well or badly people think about it


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