Foreign Tire Sales Recalls 255,000 Tires Made in ChinaAug 9, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP, LLP
Foreign Tire Sales of New Jersey has issued a recall for more than a quarter of a million Chinese-made tires. The company said that the tires lack a safety feature that prevents tread separation. In June, Foreign Tire had said that as many as 450,000 tires could be defective. Since then, the company has tested the tires, and was able to pare the list by nearly half. At least one accident that included two fatalities has been linked to the faulty now recalled tires.
Foreign Tire Sales first reported the defect to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in June. The company, which imported the tires from the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company in China, said that the tires were manufactured without a gum strip that keeps the treads from separating. Other tires had gum strips, but than were only about half the width they should have been. Foreign Tire said that it had contracted with the Chinese factory to add the gums strips, but the manufacturer changed the design without letting Foreign Tire Sales know. For its part, Hangzhou Zhongce has denied that a gum strip was ever part of the tires’ design.
The 255,000 recalled tires include the brands Westlake, Compass and YKS in the following sizes and models:
· Size LT235/75R-15, models CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT5FTS.
· Size LT235/85R-16, models CR860, CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT2FTS.
· Size LT245/75R-16, models CR860, CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT3FTS.
· Size LT265/75R-16, models CR860, CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT4FTS.
· Size LT31X10.5 R-15, models CR857 and CR861, with a DOT number beginning 7DT6FTS.
Foreign Tire Sales said that it was issuing the recall about a month later than it planned because the process was “complicated”. When the NHTSA first ordered the New Jersey importer to recall the tires, Foreign Tire had asked for help. The company claimed that the cost of the recall would force it into bankruptcy. In June, Foreign Tire Sales also claimed that it did not have a ready stock of replacement tires on hand. Foreign Tire purchases tires in China, and has them sent directly to retailers. At that time, the NHTSA said that the recall was the sole responsibility of Foreign Tire Sales.
In May, Foreign Tire Sales was sued by the families of two Pennsylvania men who were killed when the tires on the van they were riding in failed and the vehicle crashed. Three of the four tires on the van were made by the Hangzhou Zhongce factory. Hangzhou Zhongce claims that the tires on the van were not the proper size.
Foreign Tire Sales is suing the Chinese factory in U.S. District Court in Newark, seeking both monetary damages and an injunction preventing the tire maker from importing any more products to the U.S.