More and more frequently, tires are being made for this country by Chinese and other foreign tire manufacturers. Unfortunately, too many of these manufactures do not take the appropriate steps through good design and manufacturing practices to assure that their tires are safe. Equally troubling are the companies that import the tires from these foreign companies and bring them into this country. In too many instances, “importers” are not taking the appropriate steps to assure that Chinese and other foreign tire makers’ tires are safe, despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards requiring them to do so.
Under Federal law, importers of tires are deemed to be “manufacturers.” As such, FMVSS holds importers to the same responsibilities as a domestic manufacturer. Thus, “importers” must take steps to assure that the tires they import are free of defects. Good manufacturing processes require “importers” to conduct on-site inspection(s) of a foreign tire makers’ facilities to assure that adequate testing, manufacturing, quality control and other measures are in place. Further, “importers,” once they import tires into this country should perform random sampling, testing and inspection of foreign tires before they distribute and/or sell the tires to consumers in this country.
Lawyers in our firm are seeing more cases where importers of foreign tires are completely ignoring the responsibilities imposed upon them by the Federal Government. One of our lawyers, Rick Morrison, is currently handling a case were a very large tire importer of a particular foreign manufacturer’s tire line is doing nothing to assure that the tires it sells and profits from are safe. In fact, this importer has admitted it never inspected the manufacturing plant which produces the tire line at issue. In addition, they have not observed any FMVSS testing or required verification that the minimum tire testing is being performed.
Further, it concedes that it has taken no steps to assure that the foreign manufacturer’s manufacturing processes are reasonable or that the foreign manufacturers employs any quality control. Finally, this importer, has never performed one post “import” inspection, test or taken any other actions, on even one single tire it has sold. This conduct is particularly troubling when you consider how important it is for the tires you drive on to be safe.
Companies which make substantial profits from importing potentially dangerous tires need to be held responsible for failing to take basic steps to assure that the tires it sells are safe. We are seeing more and more importers which make no efforts at all to assure that the products they sell to our consumers meet even minimum standards. If a company is going to import a product to this country, that company should have in place procedures to assure that our consumers are not hurt by defective products and in particular tires. If you need more information on this subject, contact Rick Morrison at 800-898-2034 or by email at Rick.Morrison@beasleyallen.com.
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