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dropped tire-maker Firestone, a unit of beleaguered


, as a supplier in Venezuela, citing safety concerns.

The company has decided to use

Goodyear Tire & Rubber


instead on its new Laser cars and F-350 trucks.

Ford's decision further strains its relationship with Bridgestone/Firestone, which the auto maker blames for manufacturing defective tires that caused more than 100 high speed blowouts in Venezuela, along with several deaths and hundreds of injuries in the U.S.

Ford also said today that the recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires could be completed as early as November, now that the tire industry has increased production of replacement sizes. As of Thursday, 3.71 million, or 57.1% of the recalled tires, have been replaced. The companies are replacing more than 79,000 tires a day.