ERJ staff report (TB)
Seoul, South Korea -- Kumho Tire Co. Inc. is voluntarily recalling more than 300,000 car tyres in China â€œto help expedite the recovery of credibility with customersâ€ after local news media reports in the past few weeks cast doubts on the quality of the firm's products.
Kumho stressed, though, that it found no quality issues with the tyres, produced at its Tianjin, China, plant during seven isolated weeks of production between March 2008 and March 2011. Its internal investigation findings have been confirmed since by the Chinese Quality Agency, Kumho said.
The recall of the tyres begins April 15 and will be accompanied by a â€œcustomer satisfaction service eventâ€ at the same time, Kumho said.
The issue first surfaced March 15 when China's National Television Network (CCTV) reported on the use of so-called â€œrework rubberâ€ at the Tianjin factory. The report claimed that the tyre maker used more of that type of rubber-which Kumho defines as remaining or left-over rubber from the production line that is mixed with new rubber-than allowed under its own guidelines at the north China plant to save costs, which could lead to lower performance and, the network contended, safety issues.
Since CCTV released that report, Kumho found that some products made in a specific time period had in fact been produced without adherence to its internal standards.
China's quality agency investigated whether these products had any quality issues, but found no serious problems with the quality of any of the tyres, Kumho said.
Based on these test results, the Chinese government informed Kumho Tire that all products tested fully met quality requirements.
Even though its investigation and the agency's certification show products produced at Tianjin satisfy Chinese quality regulations fully, Kumho decided to recall some products produced in the specific time periods in question. It said it considers customers as the No. 1 value for the company and feels the recall is necessary to recover Kumho's credibility among consumers.
At the same time, Kumho Tire pledged to enhance its process management to ensure that its internal standards are followed so that this will not be a recurring issue.
Kumho is recalling 302,673 tyres, a portion of which were fitted OE on cars built by Beijing Hyundai Motor Co., Great Wall Motor Co. and Dongfeng Yueda Kia Automobile Co., prompting those companies to issue recalls of more than 75,500 vehicles to recover the targeted tyres.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)