The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an Equipment Query (EQ) investigation into a defective Chinese tire sold in the U.S. under different brand names that was recalled by one importer, but not another – even though they share the same distributor. In March, the agency sent an information request to Hercules Tire and Rubber Company, a subsidiary of American Tire Distributors Inc., to determine if it should have recalled its Hercules Radial A/T in eight different sizes manufactured by the Shandong Yongsheng Rubber Co., Ltd. Tires that were essentially the same, but sold as Capitol Precision Trac II, were recalled by importer ITG Voma in October.
The recall population of 94,890 tires included seven sizes for passenger cars and light trucks. Both tires were manufactured by Shandong Yongsheng and distributed by American Tire Distributors. They shared a common green designation, defined by NHTSA as: “tires that are produced to the same internal specifications but that have, or may have different external characteristics and may be sold under different tire line names.”
The investigation was opened at the request of Michael Cowen, a lawyer with the Cowen Law Group of Brownsville, Texas, who represented Krystal Cantu in a lawsuit. Ms. Cantu’s right arm was crushed in a rollover caused when the left-rear tire, a Capitol Precision Trac II, on her vehicle suffered a tread separation. The August 2013 crash was a factor in ITG Voma’s decision to recall some Capitol Precision Trac II tires that lacked a nylon cap ply. That omission which made the tires less robust and prone to tread separations.
During the Cantu lawsuit against ATD, Voma and Shandong Yongsheng a manufacturer’s representative testified that the Capitol Precision Trac II shared a common green tire designation with the Hercules Radial A/T. Mr. Cowen made the request based on the information he discovered in the Cantu case.
NHTSA’s March information request to Hercules, as the importer, manufacturer, or entity that “otherwise introduced for sale in the United States,” sought information on the similarities between the tires ITG Voma recalled and the Hercules Radial A/T, and asked “why Hercules has not yet made a defect decision and/or decided to conduct a recall of those tires.”
In February 2013, Hercules recalled seven 10-ply Load Range E tires manufactured by the Shandong Yongsheng Rubber Co., but these tires were not the same size or load range as the Capitol Precision Trac. Hercules said in its defect report to NHTSA that the tires could experience in-service belt and tread separations. In its latest probe, the agency also asked Hercules to explain why it did not include these tires in that earlier recall. The EQ’s Opening Resume acknowledged that the allegation came from Cowen:
On Dec. 17, 2014, Cowen wrote to NHTSA stating that certain Hercules All Trac A/T tires are substantially similar in design, construction, and performance as tires that importer (and manufacturer) ITG VOMA recalled due to a safety defect. NHTSA was requested to investigate and they are doing so. It will be most interesting to see what comes from this probe.
Source: Safety Research and Strategies
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.