450,000 Chinese Tires to Be Recalled

Chinese tire importer in the U.S. was obligated to recall up to 450,000 tires for light trucks and vans that are defective and can blow up at highway speed.

New Jersey importer will recall up to 450,000 Chinese-made light truck tires, U.S. transportation officials on Tuesday formally insisted.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is trying to locate tires made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. for tests and will ask the manufacturer for information. Hangzhou Zhongce tires are used for for sports utilities, vans and pickups.

Chinese-made tires came under scrutiny since October 2005, as warranty claims involving tires increased. The importer was served with lawsuits in connection with a fatal rollover crash in Pennsylvania in May 2007 and filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Hangzhou Zhongce on May 30.

The tires have an insufficient or missing gum strip which prevents belt separation. FTS said tires sold under Westlake, Telluride, Compass and YKS names could fail at highway speeds.

The United States imports roughly 32 million tires annually from China. The case broadened an ongoing controversy over Chinese imports in the United States.

Recent cases include the widely publicized problem with pet food ingredients as well as recalls of toy trains and toothpaste.

“China has been asleep at the switch when it comes to safety inspections,” Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said. [AP NEWS, AGENCIES]