WASHINGTON (Feb. 14, 2012)—The U.S. Department of Transportation issued 51 new DOT tire plant identity codes—necessary for selling road-going tires in the U.S.—during 2011, including 35 for plants in China.
The latest additions bring to 325 the number of tire plant DOT codes issued to tire factories in China, according to the DOT's database. As many as 25, however, are considered duplicates for the same plants.
Among the new codes are ones for Mitas A.S.'s farm tire plant in Charles City, Iowa; Carlisle Tire & Wheel's farm and industrial tire plant in Jackson, Tenn.; Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.'s plants in Silao, Mexico, and Kirov and Voronezh, Russia; and Continental A.G.'s plant in Kaluga, Russia.
The latest list from the DOT shows 982 codes issued, including 85 issued in the past three years.
Of the 982 codes listed, at least 150 are for plants that are closed or no longer make tires, with another 30 or so for retread plants, factories that don't make tires or make only bicycle tires and/or tubes.
The DOT symbol indicates the tire maker certifies tires bearing the mark meet all U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requirements.
The manufacturer is not required to test the tires, but if they are sold in the U.S. they are subject to random testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with penalties assessed if the tires aren't in compliance with federal standards.
Tires found not in compliance with these federal standards will be subject to recall, and the manufacturer is subject to civil penalties of up to $6,000 per tire—up to a maximum of $17.4 million for any related series of violations, according to agency documents.
Officially, the transportation department keeps codes for closed or sold plants in its active list for up to eight years after a change occurs, covering the limit of legal jurisdiction in which the DOT has to order a recall. Some of the codes in the active list, however, are for plants that closed more than 30 years ago.