Kumho denies Chinese broadcaster’s recycled rubber claims

Chinese website gasgoo.com and other sources report Kumho Tires’ denial that tyres manufactured in one of its factories in China are unsafe. The tyre maker’s comments on the quality of its tyres follows an article aired by Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV on March 15. The CCTV report alleged that Kumho Tires used excess recycled rubber in the tyres manufactured at its Tianjin factory, a practice described as one that could lead to tyre safety and performance issues.

The CCTV allegations centre on Kumho’s alleged use of more recycled rubber from semi-finished tyres than is permitted under its own guidelines. In some cases, said CCTV, recycled rubber accounted for half the material used in tyre production, compared with the allowed maximum of 25 per cent. CCTV added, citing an anonymous source, that Kumho only operated correctly when receiving visitors from OEM clients.

Soon after the initial report’s broadcast Kumho Tires denied the claims and invited the Tianjin Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau to inspect its factory’s production line. Kumho commented that it was inaccurate to rely on video footage to determine the quality of tyres. In a letter, the South Korean tyre maker explained the report was incorrect as the percentage of recycled rubber is based upon weight, rather than the visible proportion CCTV reported on.

A number of domestic Chinese carmakers are supplied with tyres from Kumho’s Tianjin plant, including Shanghai GM, FAW-VW, Beijing Hyundai and Great Wall Motor.

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