August 4, 2007 in Business

Chinese company defends tire quality

From Staff Reports The Spokesman-Review
 

OLYMPIA — A Chinese tire company alleged to have sold more than 1,000 potentially defective van, SUV and truck tires in Eastern Washington said Friday that it stands by its products.

“HZR tires have performed exceptionally well on the roads of the United States,” said a statement from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., which says its tires are safe.

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is one of 24 attorneys general questioning the safety of an estimated 270,000 of the company’s tires imported to the United States. Tire importer Foreign Tires Sales filed a defect report last month with federal officials, alleging that the affected light-truck (LTR) tires, including some sold under the brand names Westlake, Compass and YKS, lack “gum strips,” a design feature that helps prevent tread separation. At least one serious accident has been caused by tread separation of the company’s tires, McKenna said Thursday.

McKenna is urging buyers to have their tires checked and not to drive long distances. He said that a recall plan is expected soon.

Hangzhou Zhongce said Friday that it has now provided federal officials “with more details and data showing that our LTR tires sold in the United States are safe.” It says the tires are high quality and durable, and that the company has a strong commitment to robust engineering, design and production.

The company said the importer submitted its defect report before getting enough data “to make an informed decision about the safety of the tires.”

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