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255,000 Tires Made in China Recalled

Posted by Author on August 10, 2007

BY ALEJANDRO BODIPO-MEMBA, FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER, Detroit Free Press, USA, August 9, 2007-

Some 255,000 Chinese-made steel-belted radial tires have been recalled by Foreign Tire Sales Inc. of New Jersey, according to a company statement released Thursday morning.

The Union, N.J.-based tire distributor said the tires were defective because they “lacked a safety feature called a gum strip” or contained gum strips that were not large enough.

The announcement comes three months after the company informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of concerns it had over as many as 450,000 tires it had purchased from tire maker Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. in China. An initial inspection of a sampling of those tires found problems with the gum strips.

The tires being recalled today were sold from early 2004 to mid-2006 as replacement tires for SUVs, pickup trucks and vans under the brand names Westlake, Compass and YKS. The sizes that were affected include the following: LT235/75R-15; LT235/85R-16; LT245/75R-16; LT265/75R-16 and LT31X10.5 R-15.

“Consumers should know that the affected tires meet all federal motor vehicle safety standards,” said Richard Kuskin, president of Foreign Tire Sales, in the news release. “But we went the extra mile by testing them and determining that they did not meet our standards, which are more rigorous.”

This is a similar problem that led to the nation’s largest tire recall in 2000, involving Bridgestone and Firestone-brand products. On Aug. 9, 2000, Bridgestone/Firestone, which is based in Nashville, Tenn., and is a unit of Japan-based Bridgestone Corp., recalled 6.5 million Firestone tires. The tires, which were mostly on Ford Explorers, were blamed for causing 148 deaths and more than 500 injuries in the United States, at the time.

Officials at the N.J. company said they became concerned about Hangzhou tires in October 2005 amid an increase in warranty claims and began talks with the Chinese company, and then commissioned its own tests.

Foreign Tire Sales was sued in Philadelphia on May 4 by the families of two men killed when a van they were riding in crashed last year. Also suing are the driver and passenger in the van, which the lawsuits claim had Hangzhou tires.

On May 31, Foreign Tire Sales sued Hangzhou in U.S. District Court in Newark, charging that its tests found that the tires may fail earlier than those originally provided by Hangzhou, and that a recall would put the U.S. company of business.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction that would bar Hangzhou products from being imported.

Foreign Tire Sales officials recommend that drivers check the sidewall of their tires for the brand size, model and Department of Transportation number. For a complete listing of the affected tires and their model numbers, go to http://www.foreigntire.com or call 888-899-9293.

– Original report from Freep.com : 255,000 Chinese-made tires recalled

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