HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.—Strictly at random, the U.S.'s largest independent consumer products testing organization uncovered a flagrant case of tire counterfeiting, according to a speaker at the Clemson University Tire Industry Conference in Hilton Head April 15.
“We didn't say, ‘Let's go out and find some counterfeit tires,'” said Eugene Peterson, tire program manager for Consumer Reports (CR) magazine. “We said, ‘Let's test some tires,' and one of those tires just happened to be counterfeit.”
Last year, Mr. Peterson and the Consumer Reports tire testing team selected the Pegasus Advanta SUV tire as one of 20 light truck and SUV tire models to rate and test. The tire is imported into the U.S. by American Pacific Industries (API) of Scottsdale, Ariz., Mr. Peterson said.
In the list published in July 2014 on the magazine's website www.ConsumerReports.org and the following November in the magazine, Consumer Reports ranked the Pegasus Advanta dead last among the 20 tires, Mr. Peterson said. Among the problems CR noted was poor snow traction.
Shortly after the magazine article, API wrote Mr. Peterson, saying it disagreed with Consumer Reports' remarks on the Pegasus Advanta's snow traction. CR provided API with the DOT identification numbers on the tested tires.
“That was followed by a request to remove the tire from CR's ratings,” Mr. Peterson said. “When we asked why, API told us, ‘It's not our tire.'”
The DOT codes showed the tires had been manufactured in August and December of 2012, according to Mr. Peterson. API informed him that the last Pegasus Advanta tires API had authorized were manufactured at the end of 2011, and the factory that made them was torn down shortly thereafter, he said.
“Many molds from that factory went missing, and apparently they were moved to other facilities in China,” he said.