What happens when a foreign company simply refuses to recall unsafe motor vehicle parts or equipment? The NHTSA began thinking about that problem in light of recent events. Last month, a recall was initiated for tires manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., China’s second-largest tire maker. Hangzhou exports tires to FTS (Foreign Tire Sales), a New Jersey company, currently being sued for a crash that resulted in 2 deaths. The lawsuit blames defective tires produced by the Chinese company as the cause of the crash.
Foreign Tire Sales said Hangzhou Zhongce altered the production of tires, removing a gum strip used to prevent tread separation. The family-owned FTS first had concerns about tires produced by Hangzhou in October 2005, after a jump in warranty claims, and ceased buying them in June 2006.
On May 31, Foreign Tire Sales sued Hangzhou in U.S. District Court in Newark, claiming it had received improperly made tires.
The NHTSA issued the recall (NHTSA Campaign #07T003000) in June, affecting as many as 450,000 tires. Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. and Chinese regulators replied to the recall and lawsuit by saying the tires met all standards and were perfectly safe, which is another way of saying, they weren’t going to recall anything.
With an ever increasing number of imported products, especially from China, and a rash of recent problems with everything from pet food to toothpaste, this may happen a lot more frequently in the future. As noted on The Kneeslider many times, Chinese motorcycles are coming into this country, literally, by the boatload, and if the seller here is simply an importer without any other presence in the U.S., what happens if those motorcycles begin to malfunction in a manner resulting in costly repairs or even injuries or death? Who fixes them if the foreign company simply says no? What other recourse is there except to refuse to do business with Chinese companies?
Most all of the major companies from Japan, England, Germany, Italy and everywhere else selling in the U.S., have a sizable U.S. base but China, in many cases, does not. If you are planning to buy a motorcycle, parts or equipment, manufactured in China, ask about their U.S. presence and who stands behind the product. If you don’t like the answer you may wish to reconsider your purchase.
Link: Detroit News