Will Manufacturers Kill the Used Tires Biz?

Tiremakers have long held the re-sale market at arms length, out of a healthy respect for the boundaries of anti-trust regulations.  But a number of factors are aligning that may shift the market away from the re-sale of used tires for vehicles. The cost of selling used tires is going up – the scrap market is growing in tandem with the demand for used tires to be recycled into fuel to meet the energy requirements of rising economies, such as China’s. At the same time, tire litigation is getting more sophisticated and manufacturers have a keener understanding of their liability.

In 2007, Safety Research & Strategies kick-started this shift by publishing Used Tires: A Booming Business with Hidden Dangers. The report made the link between crashes, tire age and used tires, using data to show that nearly one-third of aged tire crashes investigated involve used tires. It also noted that inspections by used tire wholesalers are cursory and lead to dangerous tires entering the market and recommended used tire sellers adopt higher standards that included visual reviews and internal examinations, such as shearography or X-rays.

Kane Calls Assembly Vote on California Tire Age an Important First Step

SRS President Sean E. Kane hailed the California state assembly vote yesterday on AB496 Tire Disclosure Age bill, which cleared the state assembly, 48-21. The bill requires retail tire dealers to disclose the age of a tire to consumers in writing before the sale or installation of a tire.  Along with the tire age, dealers must provide the following statement about the increased hazards of aged tires:

Surrender Dorothy!

The California Tire Age bill passed the state assembly yesterday 48-21 and that loud pop you may have heard was the sound of the Rubber Manufacturer's Association's head exploding.

While it wasn't as good as a rant as one from the Tire Industry Associations' Roy Littlefield, the immediate response from the tiremakers trade group wasn't far off (RMA Press Release). Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president of public affairs, panted about the bill's proponents using "fear-mongering to allege that tires reaching a certain chronological age are dangerous."

Chinese Tire Recall Reveals Problems With Imports, EWR

PHILADEPHIA, PA. - A recall of 450,000 tires imported from China has exposed a loophole in the regulations that do not provide consumers with a remedy if an importer cannot afford to conduct a recall. The importer's discovery of the defect - through a spike in warranty claims - also demonstrates the importance of the public accessibility to Early Warning Reporting data.

In June, Foreign Tire Sales, of Union, N.J., appealed to NHTSA for aid in recalling an estimated 450,000 light truck tires sold under the names Westlake, Telluride, Compass and YKS, asserting that the manufacturer, the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company, had left a critical component out of the tire. Hangzhou officials have denied that the tires are defective. Initially, FTS said that it would go bankrupt if it were required to recall, replace and dispose of the defective tires. But NHTSA was unmoved by FTS's hardship claims and ordered it to file a remedy plan.

Judge Orders NHTSA To Revisit Early Warning Records Rulemaking

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V3 Issue 3, May/June 2006

Washington, D.C. - A U.S. District Court judge has kicked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration final rule on the confidentiality of records submitted under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act back to the agency. On March 31, Judge Robert Leon found that NHTSA "pulled a switcheroo" when it published its Business Information Confidentiality rule regarding the confidentiality of defect-related information in the early warning database established under TREAD nearly three years ago, and did not allow adequate opportunity for public comment.