The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a dozen new tire plant identity codesnecessary for selling road-going tires in the U.S.during 2009, all but one of which are for factories in China.
The latest additions bring to 268 the number of tire factories in China with a DOT new tire plant code, according to the DOT's database.
Among the new codes is one for the Goodyear Dalian Tire Co. Ltd. factory in Dalian, China, and one for Apollo Tyres Ltd.'s plant in Tamil Nadu, India.
Of the 10 other new codes issued for Chinese factories, Tire Business was able to find a Web site for just one of the companies identifiedWeifang Huadong Rubber Co. Ltd. and most of the others are identified on third party sites as manufacturers of bicycle or motorcycle tires and/or tubes.
The latest list from the DOT shows 904 codes issued, including 126 issued in the past three years. Of the 904 codes listed, 140 are for plants that are closed and at least 35 are for retread plants, factories that don't make tires or make only bicycle tires and/or tubes.
The DOT symbol indicates the tire maker certifies the tire meets all U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requirements. The manufacturer is not required to test the tires, but if they are sold in the U.S. they are subject to random testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with penalties assessed if the tires aren't in compliance with federal standards.
Tires found not in compliance with these federal standards will be subject to recall, and the manufacturer is subject to civil penalties of up to $6,000 per tire, up to a maximum of $16.4 million for any related series of violations, according to agency documents.
Officially, the transportation department keeps codes for closed or sold plants in its active list for up to eight years after a change occurs, covering the limit of legal jurisdiction in which the DOT has to order a recall. Some of the codes, however, are for plants that closed more than 30 years ago.
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