UNION, N.J. (July 16) — Foreign Tire Sales Inc. said it is delaying the recall of about 450,000 light truck radials made by China´s Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd., which was to start today.
The importer said the recall won´t begin for up to two weeks, until Hangzhou Zhongce complies with a U.S. government request for more information.
In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—which ordered FTS to recall the tires—FTS appealed to the agency to allow it to delay the public recall notification process until July 31, the date NHTSA told the Chinese company it wanted further information about the tires and their design and manufacture.
Additionally, FTS attorney Lawrence Lavigne said information Hangzhou Zhongce provided NHTSA in a July 11 letter indicates the scope of the recall could be reduced somewhat.
In that letter from the law firm Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. on its behalf, the Chinese manufacturer indicated the number of tires made with a design different from the original design FTS said it approved in 2002 was about 270,000, covering a period from the fifth week of 2004 to the second week of 2006.
Hangzhou Zhongce contends this "Phase II" design change—eliminating C-shaped gum strips wrapped around the edges of the steel belts—didn´t weaken the tire´s integrity, and actually improved the adhesion between the steel belts. Tires made this way also could be produced more consistently with higher uniformity and acceptance rate, HZR said in the letter.
Lavigne said FTS planned to post new information about the recall July 16 on its Web site.