WASHINGTON (June 27) — Four Democratic U.S. senators — Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania — have sent a letter to President Bush, urging him to push the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to expedite the recall of 450,000 Chinese light truck tires.
The senators also want the president to push the Chinese government to provide the Department of Transportation numbers needed to identify the recalled tires.
"Amazingly, the NHTSA has not pushed for an immediate recall of these defective products," the senators wrote. "Instead, it is still squabbling with FTS (Foreign Tire Sales Inc.) over whether FTS has the funds to pay for the recall."
Accusing Chinese manufacturers in general of having a flagrant disregard for consumer safety, the senators urged the president to investigate how unsafe Chinese tires and other products ever made it to the U.S. The tires — manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. — allegedly lack gum strips between the steel belts, making the tires prone to belt and tread separation.
They are sold in this country under the Wildfire, Telluride, Compass and YKS brand names. New Jersey-based FTS sold the tires from 2001 until it severed ties with Hangzhou Zhongce in June 2006. FTS informed NHTSA of the defect in a June 11, 2007, report.