WASHINGTON (June 28) — Foreign Tire Sales Inc. could face penalties of $6,000 per violation — or a maximum of $16.4 million — if it violates regulations pertaining to a tire recall ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency warned in a June 26 letter to the firm.
NHTSA ordered a recall of about 450,000 Chinese-made light truck tires bearing the names Westlake, Telluride, Compass and YKS after receiving information from FTS, the tires´ Union, N.J-based tire importer and wholesale distributor, of unusually high adjustment rates in 2005 and their suspected involvement in a Pennsylvania road accident that caused two deaths and a crippling brain injury.
The tires were manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. of Hangzhou, China, starting in 2001 and sold exclusively by FTS originally in the U.S. Later Hangzhou Zhongce rescinded its exclusive deal with FTS and sold the tires through other distributors as well, according to an FTS filing with NHTSA. FTS said it stopped buying tires from Hangzhou Zhongce in June 2006.
FTS said it could not shoulder the financial burden of a recall, and other companies were importing or selling the tires as well.
But in the June 26 letter, Daniel Smith, associate administrator for enforcement, said NHTSA considers FTS the manufacturer of record because it imported the tires for resale.
NHTSA said FTS must submit a revised report by July 2.