Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MSNBC spins tires for Obama

In trying to provide support for their beloved leader, MSNBC has a headline on their website that blatantly supports Obama's "Smoot-Hawley" tire tariff against China:
With Chinese tires, it's buyer beware
Amid trade tiff over Chinese tire imports, some concerns about quality

Sounds bad, huh? Unfortunately, when you read the article, the information actually supports the quality of all but one Chinese tire manufacturer.

Exhibit A:
Last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into defective tire valve stems produced by a subsidiary of Shanghai Baolong Automotive Corp. The company sold 300 million valve stems which were susceptible to cracking, potentially causing the tire to deflate, a problem which led to one fatality, according to NHTSA.

That is ONE FATALITY out of 300,000,000 valve stems. Please show me an industry that can produce results like that?

Exhibit B:
Two fatalities were attributed to defective tires made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. because of tread separation. The tire importer issued a recall for the 450,000 tires it had sold.

TWO FATALITIES out of 450,000 tires sold? If you consider there is an average of 1.5 fatalities per 100,000,000 miles driven in the U.S., and you assume four of those tires were put on every car (meaning 112,500 cars were riding on those tires), and you assume those tires were only supposed to be driven for 10,000 miles (extremely conservative), that means those tires were responsible for 1 fatality for every 562,500,000 miles driven, which is significantly ABOVE the average in the U.S. In fact, I would go so far as to say drivers of cars with those specific Chinese tires on them are actually SAFER than the typical American driver.

Exhibit C:
Consumer Reports magazine tested 23 affordable all-season replacement tires, seven of them made in China, reported Gene Petersen, tire program leader for the magazine. Of those seven, six finished in the top half of the field, he noted.

They included tires from brands such as Toyo, Cooper, Pirelli, and Kumho. “Because these tires are being built with the companies whose names are on the tires, the same specifications that would apply to a tire made in the U.S. would apply to a tire made in China,” said Petersen.

Sounds to me like they are making good quality tires in China.

But wait! Car and Driver Magazine found a bad brand:
But that was seemingly not the case for the Chinese-branded Ling Long tires tested by Car and Driver magazine. The Ling Longs wore a tread pattern identical to that of a popular Yokohama tire, a visible semblance that could cause consumers to assume similarity of performance.

That assumption would be wrong. The magazine found the braking distances and cornering grip were much worse for the Ling Long tires than for any others in the test, requiring an extra 22 feet — one and a half car lengths — to stop from 50 mph than the best tires.

So Car and Driver found one bad tire brand (although we don't know from the MSNBC article whether the test was scientific or not), and MSNBC can happily proclaim "buyer beware" of ALL Chinese tires? Even though Consumer Reports (a far more reputable firm than Car and Driver) found 6 of 7 Chinese tire brands rank in the TOP HALF of 23 different tire brands they tested? Even though the fatality rates for Chinese tires are significantly LESS than the national average for automobile fatalities?

MSNBC is shameless.


William R. Barker said...

Buy American, folks.


EdMcGon said...

Yes, support the unions Bill loves so much!

Justine Nicholas Valinotti said...

So let's see...First Obama tries to bully David Paterson (of whom I'm definitely not a fan) into not running next year.

After trying to manipulate a major election, he wants to dictate trade policy. Has he no shame?

EdMcGon said...

Justine, technically speaking, Obama CAN dictate trade policy. However, considering his limited knowledge of trade issues (community organizer and Constitutional lawyer doesn't exactly make one an expert on trade issues), Obama should avoid trade issues entirely. If his advisers told him this was a good idea, they should be fired.