Chinese website gasgoo.com and numerous news sources report Kumho Tire Co.’s denial that tires produced at one of its factories in China are unsafe.
The tiremaker’s comment on the quality of its tires follows a story aired by Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV on March 15 and subsequent news stories in various China print media.
The CCTV report alleged that Kumho used excess recycled rubber in the tires manufactured at its Tianjin factory, a practice described as one that could lead to tire safety and performance issues.
The CCTV allegations center on Kumho’s alleged use of more recycled rubber from semi-finished tires than is permitted under its own guidelines. In some cases, reported CCTV, recycled rubber accounted for half the material used in tire production, compared with the allowed maximum of 25%.
Soon after the initial report’s broadcast, Kumho Tires denied the claims and invited the Tianjin Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau to inspect its factory’s production line. Kumho commented that it was inaccurate to rely on video footage to determine the quality of tires.
In a letter, the tiremaker explained the report was incorrect as the percentage of recycled rubber is based upon weight, rather than the visible proportion CCTV reported on.
Speaking to Bloomberg, a Kumho spokesman defended the use of recycled rubber in new tires “and insisted that there were no safety issues with the company’s products,” Bloomberg reported.
"We will send a team to the Tianjin plant soon and will announce the results of the probe transparently," Kumho said in a prepared statement.
A number of domestic Chinese carmakers are supplied with tires from Kumho’s Tianjin plant. Reuters claimed that tire sales in China contributes 30% of its global sales.
Bloomberg and Reuters both reported that Kumho plans to send a team of engineers to the Tianjin plant to investigate the allegations.