Sometimes quality control and financial stability go hand in hand.
This week I saw two announcements from Cooper Tire.
First, they recalled Cooper CS4 Touring (VR tires) size 215/55 R17 produced between September 7 and October 11, 2008. This is part of a long history. According to the NHTSA recall campaign these tires may have been cured for an inadequate amount of time. This condition can lead to tire tread separation, possibly resulting in the loss of vehicle control and a vehicle crash. Cooper Tires has agreed to notify owners and replace, mount and balance any defective tires free of charge. Owners may contact Cooper Tire Consumer Relations toll free at 1-800-854-6288.
Second, Cooper Tire announced it was closing its manufacturing plant in Albany, GA, which employs about 1,400 people. I really feel for those folks who are not responsible for their employer’s quality control and management decisions, or for the general collapse of the auto industry and the economy in general. I have not heard of quality control issues at the Albany plant.
Tires are an important and complex area of defective products litigation. Tread separation is an extraordinarily dangerous defect that often results in death and catastrophic injuries. Improper manufacturing and curing of tires can cause a tread belt separation, which often leads to a tire blowout. Tread separations ordinarily cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle even when the tire does not lose pressure.
I have worked on such cases in the past. When you combine a delaminating tire with a 19 passenger van operated at high speed, the outcome is tragic.