WASHINGTON (July 6) — Foreign Tire Sales Inc. will post an "800" number on its Web site for consumers to call for information on the recall of 450,000 Chinese-made light truck radial tires, FTS told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration July 2 in an amended defect report on the tires.
Beginning July 16, the Union, N.J.-based importer will start running 1/4-page ads in USA Today about the recall and continue running them three times a week for two weeks, FTS said.
It will send press releases to national press outlets and video releases via satellite to all national markets, and also send certified letters to all wholesaler customers and all individual buyers who registered their tires.
FTS´ original defect report contained no recall plan, which prompted NHTSA to warn the importer that it could face fines of up to $16,4 million if it didn´t submit and follow through with one.
"At no time did FTS attempt to avoid its legal obligations regarding the subject tires as certain people at the agency have been quoted in the press as saying," the importer said in its amended report. Lawrence N. Lavigne, FTS´ attorney, has estimated the cost of the recall at $50 million to $80 million, and said the company only had the funds to recall 10 to 15 percent of the tires.
NHTSA has no provisions in its charter to either aid a company with a recall or to continue the recall on its own if the company declares bankruptcy. Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. — which manufactured the tires under the Compass, Westlake, Telluride and YKS brand names — inists the tires are safe and has offered FTS no help in the recall.
FTS has a lawsuit pending against Hangzhou in the U.S. district court in Newark, N.J.