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Importer to recall tires from China

August 10, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. — A tire importer said Thursday it would recall 255,000 Chinese-made tires it says were defective because they lacked a safety feature that prevents tread separation.

The recall involves half the number of tires that the importer, Foreign Tire Sales Inc., had identified in June as possibly posing a risk.

The models involved are steel-belted radial replacement tires for pickup trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles that consumers bought from early 2004 through mid-2006, Foreign Tire Sales said.

The small company, based in Union, N.J., estimated the recall would cost it $20 million, spokesman Andrew D. Frank said. It was ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June to recall as many as 450,000 tires that it bought from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. since 2002.

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

Hangzhou Zhongce said it fully cooperated with the NHTSA and "has not found any evidence that the. . . tires at issue contain any structural defects or are missing any safety features."

The recall is among a series of recent problems involving imports from China. Products including toys, toothpaste, seafood and pet food have been recalled.

Information on the tire recall was to be posted at Foreign Tire Sale's website, foreigntire.com. Consumers can also call a toll-free number, (888) 899-9293.

The recall applies to Westlake, Compass and YKS brand tires in several sizes and models.

Although Foreign Tire Sales did not make the tires, it is responsible for the recall under U.S. law.

The NHTSA ordered the recall after Foreign Tire Sales told the agency that some of Hangzhou Zhongce's tires were made without a safety feature, called a gum strip, that helps bind the belts of a tire to each other.

Some of the tires had a gum strip about half the width of the 0.6-millimeter strip Foreign Tire Sales expected, the importer said.

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