A report in March by China Central Television (CCTV) claimed that Kumho Tire Inc. used excessive amounts of “recycled” rubber at its Tianjin, China, tire manufacturing plant. The amount, according to the story, deviated from Kumho’s guidelines.
Since then, the Chinese Quality Agency has tested the products concerned, and declared they have met national standards.
However, in order to “expedite the recovery of credibility with customers,” Kumho says it is voluntarily recalling certain products. The recall will begin April 15.
“Since CCTV released the news that the Tianjin factory did not follow the internal standard for rework rubber usage, Kumho Tire has found that some products made in a specific time period had, in fact, been produced without adherence to internal standards, said the company in an official statement.
“China’s quality agency investigated whether these products had any quality issues, but found no serious problems with the quality of any of the tires. Based on these test results, the Chinese government informed Kumho Tire that all products they tested fully met quality requirements.
“Even though this certification shows products produced fully satisfy Chinese quality regulations, Kumho still decided to recall some products produced in the specific time periods in question. Kumho Tire considers the customers as the number one value for the company, and feels the recall is necessary to recover Kumho’s credibility among consumers.”
The voluntary recall covers tires produced for the Chinese domestic market between March 2008 and March 2011.
“Some media coverage has referred to this issue using the term ‘recycled’ or reclaimed rubber,” said Kumho. “These terms are misleading to the public as this is a very different process than that of utilizing ‘rework rubber,’ a widely known process utilized by major tire manufactures.
“In the tire manufacturing process, any remaining and left-over rubber from the production line is gathered for reworking and mixed with new rubber material in order to make final goods in a sheet form. Products mixed with rework rubber have passed all required inspections and safety regulations, and is perfectly okay to be mixed with original rubber materials to produce tires.
“On the other hand, recycled rubber is rubber that has already been cured as one part of finished products and should not be used again to produce new tires,” said the company. “Kumho does not use this process and finds that many are confused by the use of this terminology.
"To avoid any further misunderstanding, and to deliver the facts as they are to the public, Kumho would like to recommend using the terminology of rework rubber instead of reclaimed or recycled rubber.”