Ford's big new deal with Continental

AFTER its split with Firestone, the Ford Motor Company has announced a major new tire supply deal with the US subsidiary of Germany's Continental AG. Continental is now Ford's biggest supplier in the United States and in Europe. Goodyear is also expecting to get a considerable part of Firestone's Ford business, providing 26 different Ford-approved tires through its 9000 retail outlets in the United States.

The Continental deal will have no effect on the current deal between Jaguar Racing and Michelin, which is believed to run until the end of 2005. Continental had a short but impressive Formula 1 career, winning two World Championships in 1954 and 1955 with the Mercedes-Benz factory racing team. Founded in 1871, the fourth largest tiremaker in the world (behind Bridgestone-Firestone, Goodyear and Michelin) has been diversifying into other areas of automotive supply rather than try to compete head-to-head with the industry's three giants.

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