At Least 450,000 Imported Chinese Tires Missing Important Safety Feature

An importer of tires based in New Jersey is asking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for help recalling 450,000 imported light truck tires from China, according to CNN Money. The tires are the focus of a lawsuit involving a fatal crash “in which two construction workers were killed and a third was severely injured when a van rolled over,” according to the New York Times. The lawyer representing the lawsuit claims that the company only came forward after being named in the suit. From CNN Money:

The tires, made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., have an insufficient or missing gum strip, a safety feature that helps prevent the tires from separating, the lawyers and a consumers’ group said in a statement. The group, Safety Research & Strategies, is urging retailers and wholesalers to stop selling the tires.

The importer says the tires were sold under the names Westlake, Telluride Compass and YKS.

The New York Times reports that “tread separation” is the same problem that caused the infamous Firestone recall of 2000. The Times further reported that the New Jersey based importer would not receive help from the NHTSA and was responsible for the full cost of the recall. The importer responded by claiming that a recall would bankrupt the business:

Since Foreign Tire Sales maintains no inventory of tires, he said the company would have to buy new tires for every tire that was returned in the recall. That, added to the cost of disposing of the old tires, [a spokesperson] said, would cost about $200 for each tire.

“We don’t really know where to start,” he said. “There’s no way F.T.S. can recall this universe of tires. It will have to go belly up.”

It is unclear how many of these dangerous tires are on the road, but the Times reports that the Chinese manufacturer sold them to at least 6 other U.S. distributors who have not yet come forward.

Chinese Tires Are Ordered Recalled [NYT]
Chinese tires face recall [CNN Money] (Thanks, Everyone!)
(Photo: NYT)

Comments

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  1. xkaluv says:

    It’s a fair trade, we give them worthless dollars and they give us worthless, illegal, and poisonous products.

  2. mopar_man says:

    I didn’t know there were tires imported from China. I also didn’t know simple things like grain and catfish were imported. What ISN’T imported from that shithole?

  3. scoobydoo says:

    Once again a manufacturer fails to be responsible for their own products.

    If you purchase something from China, surely you do some testing on samples every now and then? How the hell can you buy crap and just pass it on without doing the most basic of tests?

    Of course, they’ll go out of business and avoid all responsibility. Then they’ll be back in a year under a new name with a new office somewhere pulling the same tricks.

    Yes, the Chinese suck and play nasty tricks, but their US customers are just as guilty.

  4. Doc Benway says:

    Wait didn’t these tires pass the Chinese Health and Safety Ministry’s safety tests. Evian on the other hand didn’t.

  5. Bob says:

    Maybe we’re at war with China, but we just don’t know it yet. With all of the deadly products they’ve been selling us recently, it makes you wonder.

  6. CaptainConsumer says:

    Let us NOT forget China’s foray into autmobiles. They were the first country to make a vehicle (Jiangling Landwind X6 that got a ZERO out of five in a crash test. This vehicle is ILLEGAL in Europe for this reason.

    The results of the German ADAC test which is comparable to European NCAP safety standards in areas of passanger cabin protection was ZERO out of 5. It was so bad that even airbags were deemed useless. The passenger cabin completely collapsed on collision.

  7. Toof_75_75 says:

    @Bob:

    I was thinking that as well…what if this is a sort of Guerrilla war tactic…next thing you know they sell us poisonous water filtration systems to poison the rich and contaminated Twinkies to poison the poor…It’s an epidemic in the works! :-p

  8. Dibbler says:

    This is what’s wrong with the US. We don’t make anything anymore. We fire all the production employees and just keep the office staff around to answer phones and contract all production out to China. It would be nice to see the government give out tax incentives for companies to keep production in the US or at least the Americas. We need some good old-fashioned tariffs. ;)

  9. ShadeWalker says:

    tires are poisonous? who woulda thunk it.

  10. Wormfather says:

    @Bob: I keep giving the same joke to my boss. My company is in home furnishings and I swear one day an imported desk from china is going to “spontaniously” combust. Due to the gunpowder content in the glue or something.

  11. SaveMeJeebus says:

    I heard a boatload of Chinese Uhaul trucks was turned back for safety reasons. They were loaded up to “Grandma’s Attic” with Thomas trains and toothpaste, amongst other things.

  12. Wormfather says:

    @ShadeWalker: No, no, no, no, no, the wheels on the Poison Train are poinsonous. Jeesh.

  13. QTex says:

    Here’s an update to the story from the NYT.

    My favorite part:

    “This is concocted out of thin air,” said Xu Youming, a manager of legal affairs at Zhongce, China’s second biggest tire maker. “The structure of a tire can’t be decided by an individual. Any change in the structure requires technical assistance. Zhongce couldn’t possibly leave out the gum strip on purpose.”

    Ya, I’m now totally convinced that’s what happened.

  14. Wormfather says:

    oh yeah, dugg

    [digg.com]

  15. ShadeWalker says:

    @Dibbler: we already do this but they still undercut our production costs.

  16. rmz says:

    @Dibbler: We fire all the production employees and just keep the office staff around to answer phones

    With phone staff outsourced to India, we don’t even do that anymore! :P

  17. Art Vandelay says:

    @CaptainConsumer:

    Actually, the manufacturer had the Landwind tested with and passed the NCAP, and it’s been for sale in Europe since, 2005 I believe. No quality was added, the just greased the wheels that needed greasing. They also had the audacity to call the ADAC test into question and say they were harmful to product.

    @ScoobyDoo

    This doesn’t apply in this situation. The US side was an importer, not manufacturer.

  18. jabber says:

    Jeeez, next thing you guys will be telling me that all the iPods that they manufacture are all a plot to make Americans go deaf so as to not to hear when they invade the U.S.

  19. @CaptainConsumer:

    The LandWind was actually a copy of the 1994-97 Isuzu Rodeo, which itself fared horribly in the IIHS offset crash test (with the same type of structural failure the LandWind exhibited). I think the LandWind did slightly worse, which makes sense, seeing as that’s what’s expected when you make a cheap copy of a design that was poor to begin with.

  20. loueloui says:

    Hey, I think I know where all those WMDs went! Boy they weren’t kidding when they said our ports weren’t safe.

    All of this crap will be melted down by Al-Qaeda once it’s over here, and then there’ll really be some mayhem.

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    Responsibility should be up and down the manufacturing food chain. So yes, the importer should be liable. Tough cookies, importing w/o testing.

  22. cyclade says:

    Ahem. Ok, now is it time for Congress to step in and put some r… the brutal regime in Beijing and its use of state owned or state-sponsored enterprises to undercut the US economy?

  23. Dibbler says:

    The scary thing is that China has threatened to dump US currency if we don’t shut up and just take the crap thereby destroying our economy. They already own us and we don’t even know it yet. :(

  24. Sudonum says:

    @mopar_man:
    In answer to your question…
    Products that can be used safely as they were intended.

  25. Buran says:

    They should have thought about the consequences of making shoddy products before shipping them. Too damn bad they’re going to go under. Boo freaking hoo.

  26. Bay State Darren says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: Too unsafe for U-Haul? Were they constructed out of Black Plague with weapons grade uranium interior?

  27. queen_elvis says:

    I’m not clear on why this company asked us, the taxpayers, to bail them out. The only motivation I can think of for the NHTSA to agree to that is that they might go out of business before they fulfill their legal obligation to replace all the defective tires. I’m willing to spend tax money on making sure the guy next to me on the freeway doesn’t have a random blowout.

    I hope the NHTSA has enough balls to order the recall. (Since apparently asking for a voluntary one won’t work.)

  28. bnissan97 says:

    Same reply as I stated in the post of the reporter detained.

    “America sold out to China. More to come.

    There is a way to stop this!! Make more products here in the States.”

    I say make the US company replace tires. Let them go bankrupt and NOT allow them to reopen as any corporation again.

    I feel there should be a law that principles of a bankrupt company due to something of this sort should be banned from opening companies again.

    And “piercing the corporate veil” is appropriate on this one if they bail.

  29. legerdemain says:

    @mopar_man: I live in Louisiana, near New Orleans. We have a thriving seafood industry. Visiting family often finds you having a grocery bag filled with fresh shrimp forced on you. Driving any high-traffic road outside of the busiest parts of town will find pickup trucks on the side of the road, surrounded by ice chests, selling crawfish, shrimp and crabs caught that morning. In fact, anyone with the right net and the willingness to go to the right body of water can come home with some nice dinner. If I go out to eat, or go to the grocery store, there’s a very good chance my seafood will have been frozen and imported from China.

  30. ARPRINCE says:

    Well it’s a lose-lose situation for the FTS. A recall will bankrupt him. If he does not do a recall, lawsuits will bankrupt him. So anyway you looked at it, he screwed.

  31. JustAGuy2 says:

    Just to be clear, the issue here is that the US importer _would_ go bankrupt if they were forced to recall the tires. You can’t get blood from a stone – this is a small company, and they just don’t have $60MM lying around.

  32. Trick says:

    Cry me a river. I hope this company does goes belly-up and everyone working for them lose out big time.

    You had no problems buying crap tires from China a selling them for as much as $200 (which probably only cost the dealer $50…)

  33. Rusted says:

    Great….vitamins, food, pet-food, vehicles, and now tires.

    Goodyears next year, if they still make em’ here by then.