China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China has released a report on the complaints made by Chinese consumers against automobile manufacturers in 2008, which shows both Kumho tires and Hankook tires have had quality problems.
According to the report which was released by AQSIQ on its official website, in 2008, AQSIQ received a total of 2,933 complaints against automobile manufacturers, which was an increase of 36.8% over that of the previous year. Most complaints were made on engines, accounting for 25%, and this was followed by complaints on dynamic systems such as the accelerator and the clutch. In addition, the quality of automobile components was a concern and during the year AQSIQ received 495 complaints about tires, including serious cases such as bulges on Kumho tires and Hankook tires.
Chinese media reports that the reason AQSIQ has not formally exposed these two companies in its product quality announcement is that an appraisal has not yet been made on these two tires.
Both Kumho and Hankook are said to have responded to being "pointed at" by AQSIQ. A representative from Kumho reportedly said that a tire bulge does not mean there is a problem with the tire quality and the bulge might be caused by unstable air pressure, bad road conditions, or the bad driving habits of car drivers. However, the person added that Kumbo would keep track of the issue to protect consumers' interest.
Hankook said that the bulging tires could not be their mainstream products. The company did not make a direct response to the complaints made against their products.
It is understood that due to their cheaper prices, tires from both Kumho and Hankook are being widely used by Chinese automobile manufacturers, particularly makers of saloon cars.