Manufacturing News

Kumho admits making substandard tires in China

Korean tire maker Kumho Tire Co. has pledged to recall tires made with too much recycled rubber -- a reversal of its previous defiant stance.

On March 15, China Central Television reported that a Kumho plant in north China's Tianjin city uses excessive amounts of recycled rubber to produce tires. Too much recycled rubber can cause tires to wear out quickly.

The state-owned TV station also aired complaints by Chinese consumers who complained that the tires sometimes developed bulges after a few months of usage. One motorist claimed Kumho tires caused him to lose control of his vehicle and crash. One passenger was killed and two others severely injured.

One day after the TV report, Kumho issued a statement disputing the TV report. The company claimed its plant met regulatory limits on the use of recycled rubber. But the Korean tire maker reversed itself on Monday, and the company CEO publicly admitted that the Tianjin plant used too much recycled rubber.

A senior executive at the Tianjin plant was fired, according to Kumho's latest statement. The company also has pledged to recall substandard tires "within the shortest possible time."

Besides Tianjin, Kumho has tire plants in Nanjing and Changshu in east China's Jiangsu province. The three plants have a combined annual production capacity of 30 million tires.

The plants supply General Motors, Volkswagen, Hyundai and PSA, as well as domestic Chinese brands.

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