WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Transportation issued 22 new DOT plant identification codes in the past year for tire factories worldwide, including nine in China and three in India.
These additions expand the list of tire plant IDs to 1,075, although 85 of these are assigned to factories that are closed/no longer exist and 25 to facilities that don't make tires.
There also are at least 50 to 60 factories worldwide with two or more distinct "original" two-place codes, leaving roughly 900 factories worldwide that are considered "active."
In fact, two of the codes issued in the past year appear to have been issued in error: one for a retread plant in Tennessee and another for a Texas aftermarket truck converter.
Among the new codes is one for ACTR Co. Ltd., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s truck tire joint venture near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with China's Sailun Group Co. Ltd., as well as for new plants in India for Apollo Tyres Ltd. and MRF Ltd.
Tire manufacturers wishing to sell tires intended for use on U.S. roadways must have a DOT code for each plant, and that code must be molded into the sidewalls of each such tire, according to DOT regulations.
New codes issued over the past year are:
- ACTR Co. Ltd., Dau, Tay Ninh, Vietnam — 04B
- Apollo Tyres Ltd., Andhra Pradesh, India — 042
- Arsenal SAPI de C.V., Qingdao, Shandong, China — 02N
- Asian Tire Factory Ltd., Jalandhar, Punjab, India — 044
- Autowheels Fashion Sdn. Bhd., Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia — 04D
- DBL Design, Hurst, Texas — 03U
- Everthrough Rubber Products Sdn. Bhd. , Perak, Taiping, Malaysia — 048
- General Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd., Amphur Muang, Rayong Province, Thailand — 045
- Guangxi New Guilun Rubber Co. Ltd., Guilin, Guangxi, China — 04E
- Hubei Linglong Tyre Co. Ltd., Jingmen City, Hubei, China — 03W
- Hung Hai Thinh J.S.C., Phu Giao District, Binh Duong, Vietnam — 03X
- Kabat Tyre spólka z o.o. Spólka, Budzyn, Poland — 043
- Lianyungang Tuoxi Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd., Lianyungang, Jiangsu, China — 03V
- Love's Truck Solutions L.L.C., Milan, Tenn. — 04A
- MRF Ltd., Dahej, Gujarat, India — 049
- Pingdu Zihai Rubber Manufactory, Qingdao, Shandong, China — 03T
- Qingdao Jingtai Rubber Products Co. Ltd., Qingdao, Shandong, China — 046
- Qingdao Tulechi Rubber Co. Ltd., Qingdao, Shandong, China — 047
- Shandong Habilead Rubber Co. Ltd., Dongying City, Shandong, China — 041
- Suntop Tire (Wuxi) Co. Ltd., Wuxi, Jiangsu, China — 03Y
- Technic do Brasil Ltda., Santo Andre, Sao Paulo, Brazil — 04C
- Topmega International Group Co. Ltd., Sepon District, Savannakhet Province, Laos — 040
Tire makers are not required to test the tires, but if the tires are sold in the U.S., they are subject to random testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with penalties assessed if the tires fail to be 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.
The new codes reflect the agency's policy of replacing the decades-old two-place alphanumeric system with a three-place identity. The DOT switched out of concern that it would run out of two-place IDs.
In all but a few cases, the DOT added the numeral "1" in front of the existing code to create the new code. Exceptions to this practice are those codes that include "G," "S" or "Q" due to the potential for misreading an S for a 2 or G and Q for 0, for example.
As for those companies granted a DOT code for the first time:
• ACTR Co. Ltd. is the Cooper-Sailun joint venture.
• Apollo Tyres is the company's $280 million passenger tire plant in Andhra Pradesh, its fifth factory in India, that the company expects to be on stream by mid-2020.
• Asian Tire Factory Ltd. is a producer of off-highway tires at a plant in Jalandhar, Punjab State, in northern India. Founded in 2009, the company uses ATF as its brand name and also markets using the Farm King name.
• Arsenal SAPI de C.V. is a Monterrey, Mexico-based private brander active in the commercial, industrial and OTR sectors with its Arsenal brand.
• Autowheels Fashion Sdn. Bhd. is a Selangor, Malaysia-based distributor of tires and wheels.
• DBL Design is a Hurst, Texas-based aftermarket converter of heavy-duty pickup trucks. DBL designs and produces its own wheels but is not active in tire manufacturing.
• Everthrough Rubber Products Sdn. Bhd. is a Perak, Malaysia-based company producing tires and tubes predominantly for two- and three-wheeled vehicles. Incorporated in 1988, ERP goes to market under the brand names Kingstone, Brightstone and Consosta.
• General Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd. is the Rayong Province-based subsidiary of China's Jiangsu General Science Technology Co. Ltd., which brought on stream late last year the $300 million car and truck/bus tire plant. JGST is represented in the U.S. by Statewide Tires Inc.
• Guangxi New Guilun Rubber Co. Ltd. — Tire Business could not ascertain any background on this firm.
• Hubei Linglong Tire is part of China's Linglong Tire Group; this particular factory, with capacities for car, truck and OTR tires, is Linglong's fourth plant in China.
• Hung Hai Thinh J.S.C. is a Binh Duong, Vietnam-based manufacturer of industrial rubber products that reportedly is building a tire factory that is supposed to go into production in 2020.
• Kabat Tyre is a Budzyn, Poland-based producer of agricultural tires and solid tires, inner tubes and technical rubber products. Founded in 1983, the owners are brothers Andrzej and Tadeusz Kabat.
• Lianyungang Tuoxi Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd. — Tire Business could not ascertain any background on this firm.
• Love's Truck Solutions is the retreading arm of Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores. The DOT new tire plant code appears to have been issued in error.
• MRF Ltd. has committed $635 million over 10 years for a passenger tire and tube plant in Dahej, Gujarat Province, its ninth factory in India.
• Pingdu Zihai Rubber Manufactory is a Pingdu City, China-based producer of OTR, agricultural, industrial and truck tires and inner tubes and flaps under the Zihai brand.
• Qingdao Jingtai Rubber Products Co. Ltd. is a Qingdao, Shandong Province, China-based producer of motorcycle tires and tubes under the Superbiz brand.
• Qingdao Tulechi Rubber Co. Ltd., Qingdao, Shandong, China — Tire Business could not ascertain any background on this firm.
• Shandong Habilead Rubber Co. Ltd. is a Dongying City, China-based producer of passenger and truck tires under the Durun and Goldway brands. Shandong Habilead is part of Shandong Huasheng Rubber Group.
• Suntop Tire (Wuxi) Co. Ltd. is a Zhanghua County, China-based producer of inner tubes, motorcycle and industrial tires.
• Pneus Technic is a Santo André, Brazil-based manufacturer of motorcycle, retro and agricultural tires under the Technic brand.
• Topmega International Group Co. Ltd. is a Savannakhet Province, Laos-based producer of inner tubes.