Last week’s news about yet another defective Chinese export — this time, automobile tires sold by New Jersey importer Foreign Tire Sales — begins to point to a potentially serious trouble spot for the powersports market.
The tires in question suffer from tread separation as a result of a glue strip left out in the manufacturing process. The product joins a list of recent stories that include poison toothpaste and toy train sets, adulterated seafood and deadly pet food.
What’s this got to do with powersports? Several years ago, in a very limited product category, one distributor went to it’s Chinese vendor for a wide tire tranny extension. Cost effective: sure. At least partly because the critical heat treat portion of the process was left out, resulting in a very expensive stripping of the splines from the main shaft after about 50 feet on the highway.
It’s safe to say this aftermarket industry would be on life support without the economic advantage provided by Chinese manufacturing. It’s also self-evident that the continuing pr disasters of Chinese exports as a whole could very easily taint the powersports product segment.
Obviously, what’s needed here is a quick application of Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval. It may not be out of the question for our industry to perform a sourcing check to assure consumers our products are safe — ahead of the curve.