Kumho recalls suspect tires and apologizes
Updated: 2011-03-22 17:37
By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
BEIJING - The South Korean tire maker Kumho Tire Co Ltd promised to recall all its faulty products and formally apologized to Chinese consumers on Monday.
Last week, China Central Television revealed that the company's Tianjin plant had used too much recycled rubber in the tires made at the plant. The excessive use of the recycled material could lead to bulges in the tires, or even result in them splitting, which has the potential to cause accidents, according to the report.
Previously, the company reportedly denied the accusation, but it apologized by releasing a formal statement in a China Central Television program on Monday.
"We will recall all the flawed products as soon as possible," the company said in the statement.
Kumho, which used to claim it wanted to acquire 28 percent of China's passenger vehicle market by 2014, could now find its sales goal difficult to achieve, analysts said.
The news also led to a heightened awareness of tire safety among consumers.
"I never noticed it, but I have always ignored the quality of my tires. I don't even know what tires I am using for my day-to-day driving," said a 31-year-old Beijing lawyer, called Ma. "Now I am eager to have my tires checked in the 4S (sales, spare parts, service, survey) store, as I realized that tire quality also relates with my everyday life."
Kumho, which has an annual production capacity of 30 million units in its factories, which are located Tianjin, Nanjing and Changchun, provides tires for 35 car models produced by major original equipment manufactures including Shanghai GM Co Ltd, FAW Volkswagen Automobile Co Ltd, Beijing Hyundai Co Ltd, Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile Co Ltd and homegrown brands such as Great Wall Motor Co Ltd and Hafei Automobile Industry Group.
Some automakers also clarified their relationship with Kumho, as Shanghai GM, FAW Volkswagen and Chery Automobile all said that the tires used on their cars were not provided by the Tianjin plant.
They also promised to offer free quality checks at their 4S stores to ease safety concerns.
Shang Yugui, spokesman for Great Wall, said that the company has suspended the use of all Kumho tires, which account for 30 percent of its total tire supply.
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