Michelin assists NHTSA on Phantom brand evaluation

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Michelin North America Inc. (MNA) is voluntarily providing its own engineering data and analysis to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to assist in the evaluation of its Phantom A/P private label tires made exclusivley for Discount Tire Co./America's Tire Co.

The tires are manufactured by Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Manufacturing (UGTM), an operating unit of MNA.

MNA vowed its continuing assistance to NHTSA as the agency begins its preliminary evaluation of selected Phantom A/P tires. The evaluation follows a no-charge replacement campaign of approximately 30,000 tires initiated by MNA last month.

One June 14, 2002, MNA, acting on behalf of UGTM, informed NHTSA of the voluntary consumer satisfaction program to replace four sizes of Phantom A/P brand tires. Those sizes are LT245/75R16 (Load Range E), LT235/85R16 (Load Range E), P235/75R15 (Standard Load), and P235/75R15 (Extra Load). The tires in question were manufactured between Jan. 1, 1997, and Dec. 31, 1999.

These tires purchased between January 1997 and December 1999 would be replaced at no charge, MNA said. Consumers were told about the program through letters, news releases sent to media outlets and ads in newspapers.

MNA says about 192,000 of these tires were sold, but only about 30,000 remain in service.

Under certain conditions of extreme use (overloading and under-inflation, coupled with rough terrain and constant high temperature) some of the Phantom A/P tires have come out of service prematurely, MNA says. One accident associated with the designated Phantom A/Ps has been recorded, which occured after the no-charge campaign began, the company notes.

UGTM has set up a consumer hotline at (800) 521-9796 to answer its customers' questions.

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