WASHINGTON (July 6) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent letters to 14 companies, including tire makers Goodyear and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., inquiring about any tires they may have imported from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd.
Hangzhou is the manufacturer of 450,000 radial light truck tires, sold under the Westlake, Telluride, Compass and YKS brand names, which NHTSA ordered to be recalled after Union, N.J.-based importer Foreign Tire Sales Inc. sent the agency a defect report.
FTS said Hangzhou unilaterally changed the construction of their tires to omit or lessen the gum strips between the belts, increasing the chance of belt and tread separation, a charge Hangzhou denies. NHTSA wants the 14 companies to identify all the light truck radials made by Hangzhou, of the same size identified by FTS, that they imported to the U.S.
If they did not import such tires or felt the tires they imported contained no defect, they should explain their position, the agency said. NHTSA also wants quantities of Hangzhou tires sold, tire identification numbers, names and addresses of wholesalers and dealers to whom Hangzhou tires were sold, and whether or not the Hangzhou tires sold contained the letters "FTS" in their identification numbers.
Besides Goodyear and Cooper, the companies included 12 tire importers located in Puerto Rico, California, Maryland, Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Mississippi and Alabama.
They included most of the importers identified by FTS in its defect report as possible importers of the defective tires.