updated 10/12/2005 11:39:34 AM ET 2005-10-12T15:39:34

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire has agreed to pay $240 million to Ford Motor Co. to settle claims related to the tiremaker’s 2000 recall of defective tires, Bridgestone Firestone said Wednesday.

Bridgestone Firestone, the North American unit of Japan’s Bridgestone Corp., and Ford reached a settlement that will help cover the costs of the automaker’s 2001 tire replacement program, which followed the tire recall, said Saul Solomon, vice president and general counsel of Nashville-based Bridgestone Firestone.

At least 271 people were reported killed and hundreds more injured in accidents involving Firestone ATX and AT tires, and the maker recalled 6.5 million of them. Bridgestone has spent more than $1 billion on recall-related costs.

The discord between Ford and Bridgestone Firestone emerged in May 2000, when the U.S. government stepped in to investigate the cause of numerous accidents involving Ford vehicles with tires bearing the Firestone logo. Bridgestone blamed defects in some Ford vehicles, while Ford said the tires were entirely at fault.

In May 2001, Ford severed business ties with Firestone that had lasted nearly half a century and began replacing almost 10 million Firestone tires free of charge for its own customers.

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