Made in China: Faulty Tires

How a Chinese supplier's bad decision turned into one importer's worst nightmare, and may mean the end of his business

Richard Kuskin was sitting in the dingy basement office of his Union (N.J.) import firm one day in May, 2006, when the phone rang. One of his distributors in New Mexico was on the line. There had been an accident involving an ambulance riding on Chinese-made tires sold by Kuskin's firm, Foreign Tires Sales Inc. The tires had blown out, causing the driver to lose control. No one was hurt. Still, the incident scared Kuskin. For several months he'd had a nagging feeling that his Chinese partner, Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., had cut out a key safety technology. For Kuskin, the ambulance incident was like a flashing red warning light.

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