The Din and the Roar - Tire Review Magazine

The Din and the Roar

More than a few of you probably wonder why we have been fairly silent of late about the whole USW-Chinese Tire face-off.

Well, the answer is simple: I think we have all talked this thing out. Media and pundits and companies and dealers from around the world have weighed in with their opinions – many of them quite good and logical, from both sides – so truthfully there is not much more we can add.

It’s now a waiting game. By the close of next week we will know the answer as the Obama Administration has until Sept. 17 to issue its ruling.

Still think (and hope) that – at worst – the Administration finds a logical middle ground, enough to placate the union but not so much that undue harm is laid on the manufacturers, importers, distributors, dealers and consumers that rely on tires produced in China.

If the USW’s complaint had come 5-10 years ago, it would probably have had much better traction, especially if “product quality” was the primary issue. Safety, after all, sells.

But today’s China-made tires – especially those made by or under the direction of major tiremakers – are quite good, and far better than the rubber produced a decade ago. The Chinese makers are still learning – just as the Japanese and South Koreans before them – but have gained at an accelerated rate because of the growing presence of major makers like Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Hankook, Kumho, Toyo and on and on and on.

So we will see what happens.

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