Consumer Reports’ testing has come to a definitive conclusion: Chinese-branded tires are inferior in some fashion.
And based on the tone of its Sept. 15 article on the subject, Consumer Reports tends to believe that ALL Chinese-branded tires are below grade.
For the first time, Consumer Reports included Chinese-brands Geostar, Pegasus and Sunny in a tire test report, measuring 20 all-weather and all-season tires for light-duty pickups and SUVs.
Consumer Reports tested Aeolus brand tires but didn’t report on them because it had determined that a ready supply of tires was unavailable. According to Consumer Reports, “This supply issue seems to be a problem when buying ‘off-brand’ tires, because you don’t know whether the tires will be around for any length of time should you need a replacement.”
And, Consumer Reports states that Chinese tire brands don’t have that oversight, nor the marketing foresight to design products well-suited to the specific requirements of the U.S. consumer. At the same time, the magazine acknowledges that many of the major brand names are manufactured in China. Those tires, however, are designed and manufactured to “quality standards dictated by the original manufacturers.”
Needless to say, the Geostar, Sunny and Pegasus brand tires ranked 18, 19 and 20, respectively, in the test.
“While we can’t address specific tire build quality, our all-weather tests show that these tires simply don’t measure-up to most of the well-known brands,” wrote Consumer Reports.
The main criticisms leveled at the Chinese-brand tires were average wet stopping performance, fair to poor snow and ice traction, a stiff and noisy ride, and quick wear.
Consumer Reports did crunch some numbers. The company noted that Michelin’s LTX M/S2, the top-scoring tire, costs twice as much as the Pegasus-brand tire and claimed that it lasts “almost three times longer.” Consumer Reports also factored in the cost of buying two additional sets of tires, and mounting and balancing, and found that consumers could save “hundreds of dollars, not to mention get a better all-weather performing tire,” if they choose the Michelin.
Consumer Reports did say one positive thing about Chinese-brand tires: “Buying a cheap tire is better than riding on worn-out tires.”