Goodyear has agreed to recall more than 173,000 intended for commercial delivery vehicles and RVs nearly two decades after the last one was manufactured. The company’s G159 tires have been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since December of 2017 and the recall comes in the wake of years of lawsuits alleging the rubber contributed to a series of fatal accidents dating back to 1998.
Despite no new claims having launched in years, court orders and settlement agreements delayed an order to make corporate data pertaining to the tire-buying public for five full years. The NHTSA didn’t even launch a formal investigation until late in 2017, followed by the recent announcement that the agency has pushed Goodyear into a recall for a tire that ended production during the Bush administration.
Goodyear found itself in a hornet’s nest this week, following a leaked diversity training slideshow that included a ban on Make America Great Again (MAGA) attire and sentiments. Incoming Goodyear employees at its plant in Topeka, Kansas, were allegedly warned about inappropriate political displays.
While “Black Lives Matter” and “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride” were considered acceptable, “Blue Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “MAGA Attire” and “Political Affiliated Slogans or Material” were listed in the unacceptable section.
The leak quickly garnered ire from President Trump as it circulated around the internet, who used social media to effectively support the preexisting campaign to boycott the company’s tires — adding that he would make sure Goodyear rubber is removed from the presidential limousine, posthaste. As you might have expected, this kicked up a media storm that brought more attention to the boycott Goodyear never wanted, while also placing it the center of a political fracas.
Airless tires are one of those things that crop up every few years, but they never seem to stick around long enough to become commonplace. Already, certain construction vehicles use flat-proof rubber, and tire manufacturers have been playing with airless systems for some time. For example, Hankook has the iFlex, its fifth attempt at non-pneumatic tires, and Goodyear has actually begun selling airless donuts on commercial lawnmowers. Michelin even has a 3D-printed round that it claims will last the lifetime of a vehicle.
Unfortunately, nobody seems able to come up with a solution that works at higher speeds. While they’re great at taking impacts, the existing designs aren’t so good at coping with high levels of heat. But it’s not for a lack of trying — there may even be a breakthrough just around the bend, especially since everyone seems so interested. Rolling resistance and weight are two of the electric car’s worst enemies. If an automaker could mitigate those issues effectively, that would be another leg up on the competition.
It’s an issue weighing heavy on the top minds at Toyota at the moment. The company’s recent concept EV, the Fine-Comfort Ride, came equipped with a set of experimental airless tires from Sumitomo Rubber Industries, boringly named the Smart Tyre Concept-A. Toyota’s theory is that non-pneumatic tires, consisting of a solid band of rubber encircling lightweight alloys, could eventually compensate for the weight of wheel-mounted electric motors.
General Motors has announced it will choose “sustainable natural rubber” for the 49 million tires it buys each year. The automaker claims it is establishing a set of buying principals to ensure sustainably harvested materials and is encouraging other automakers to follow suit in a bid to reduce deforestation.
It won’t suddenly make driving your Chevrolet good for the environment, but it should give drivers bragging rights — allowing them to claim their tires killed fewer critters before even getting the opportunity to run any over.
However, environmental smugness is occasionally warranted. With tire manufactures representing 75 percent of the natural rubber market (according to the World Wildlife Fund), an overall shift toward sustainability would provide a measurable impact on deforestation. But what is General Motors getting out of this move and what will the price of environmental awareness be?
An American man will soon enjoy the task of making people love his controversial company again.
That, Goodyear’s been watching I, Robot, Toyota shatters its corporate structure, sentiment grows for better braking, and the feds say the airbag recall has gone far enough … after the break!
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- ToolGuy Make the hood taller, and I'm in. 😉
- El scotto It leaves the loading dock/loading are in the morning. It gets parked in the same place. Bubba/Bubbette plugs in and it charges overnight. Driver forgot to plug in?First time a warning, second time no pay while their vehicle is recharging. That problem will correct itself.
- El scotto Hmmm, because it would take ohh another 20 minutes; if you rent an EV on the company dime stay at a hotel on the company dime that has EV chargers. I know crazy talk.Common sense would dictate don't rent an EV where there aren't chargers. No, I'm not downloading a find a charger app for a business trip either. People who don't like EVs won't rent them. Some do like EVs and will rent them. However most EV research on here consists of: I bought a dozen eggs, four large dill pickles, and a loaf of bread; therefore I have egg salad."
- 28-Cars-Later Here's another thing you can't buy; and another, and another!
- JREwing It suffered the same small back seat problem that the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique did. 2 more inches in wheelbase or a taller roof would've helped a lot.But the biggest issue was that it wasn't a SUV/crossover/soft-roader with 3 rows in a market that couldn't get enough of them.