Kumho to recall faulty tires in China

Updated: 2011-03-22 22:21


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SHANGHAI - South Korea' s Kumho Tires has decided to recall some of its products in China following reports that tires made by the company failed quality standards.

Kumho, one of the largest tire manufacturers in China, used excessive amounts of recycled tires as raw material in its manufacturing facility in the northern municipality of Tianjin, CCTV reported last week, adding that these tires could rupture.

Lee Han-seop, the head of Kumho' s China subsidiary, publicly apologized to Chinese consumers on a CCTV program on Monday, vowing to recall all of its defective products. However, the company did not provide details regarding when and how it will conduct the recall.

Further, the Shanghai office of Kumho has not received any recall order from the company's China headquarters, according to an unnamed spokesperson for the Shanghai office on Tuesday. He added that Kumho tires in the Shanghai market are mostly from the Nanjng plant in nearby Jiangsu Province.

General Motors' Shanghai venture immediately issued an online statement after the TV report on the defective tires, saying that the Kumho tires used were produced in Nanjing. The company also said that it would help handle consumer complaints or inquiries.

Chery Automobile also told Xinhua that none of the Kumho tires used on some of its vehicles is made at the Tianjin plant.

Worried about auto safety, some consumers have postponed their plans to purchase cars.  "I will wait until all the defective tires are recalled. I dare not buy a car,"  said Wu, a consumer looking to purchase a car.

Car retailers in Shanghai also complained that their service hotline has been extremely busy as many consumers call to ask whether the their tires could be faulty.

Xu Minfeng, a car analyst with Central China Securities, suspects that Kumho used excessive recycled tires in order to save costs. The price of natural rubber has been soaring recently and recycled tires are cheap to use.

The South Korean company entered China in 1994 and it has factories in Chinese cities including Tianjin, Nanjing and Changchun.

The tire maker supplies the Chinese ventures of General Motors, Hyundai Motor, Peugeot Citroen Automobile and Volkswagen AG, as well as China' s  domestic Great Wall Motor.

China has topped the U. S. as the world' s largest auto market and accounts for 30 percent of Kumho' s global sales.


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