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New Company Refuses to Discuss Tires Made by "That Other Company"

Tokyo ( — Seeking to rebuild a shattered image that has caused three major automakers to drop its tires, Firestone today unveiled an entirely new name that it hopes will distance the company from the deaths and injuries associated with its products. Effective immediately, the company will be called ValuJet.

New ValuJet tires

Analysts quickly praised the strategy, noting that changing identities is a well-established and effective tactic for companies whose names cause anxiety and fear among consumers. However, they questioned Bridgestone/Firestone's choice of ValuJet.

"Wasn't ValuJet what AirTran was called before one of its planes crashed in the Everglades a few years ago?" said Automotive Daily Editor Luke Dempsey.

"Exactly," responded Kelly Fidrich, marketing vice president of the new ValuJet Tires. "They changed their name and it worked really well for them. Who remembers what AirTran was originally called?"

According to a statement issued by the new ValuJet, the name change is the "second logical step" along the path to rebuilding the company and restoring public confidence. "Our first step was to blame Ford for any accidents involving Firestone tires," the statement said. "This next step enables us to extend that strategy by allowing us to disclaim any connection with the original company that made those tires."

At a press conference to unveil the name, ValuJet's Fidrich demonstrated the power of this new system. Asked repeatedly if the company will now attempt to evade lawsuits stemming from the 174 U.S. traffic deaths linked to Firestone tires, Fidrich appeared genuinely confused.

"I'm sorry, but we are ValuJet Tires," she said. "It would be inappropriate for us to comment on any products made by another company."

When reporters pressed the point that ValuJet evolved from Firestone, Fidrich grew impressively irritated. "Honestly, to what absurd lengths are we going to take this? Should we also blame Exxon-Mobil for things Standard Oil did back in 1900?"

Fidrich then adjourned the press conference and received a congratulatory phone call from White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.


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