Did you know that the price point tire market (tires average people can afford) is made up of 95% imported tires from China, Taiwan, or other foreign countries, with different manufacturing standards? Are you outfitting your All-American Jeep or Light Truck with Foreign Tires? If you can’t afford Goodyear or Cooper, you might be riding on some cheap imports.
Now, I love Cooper and Goodyear too, as these are America’s biggest tire companies. But not all their tires are made in the US, and their prices are just too high for most families. A Goodyear 35” tire can be as expensive as $400/tire, while a price point 35” tire is much more affordable, at $195/tire. Now, here is where you have to be smart and know what you are buying. You can get your tires at a great price, with excellent performance, and support “real” American Companies. Yes, it is possible to avoid the cheap import tire ride!
First, know your price point brands. Know what tires are made right here in the US and which ones are NOT!
Which Tires Are American Made?
TreadWright Tires – American’s own rugged LT/SUV tires in Houston Texas.
Cooper Tires – Eldorado and Mastercraft are solid American brands, and they make their tires right here in the USA.
GT – If you must. It is a Chinese-owned company, but they actually have a manufacturing plant in the Carolinas, which supports US Jobs.
Atturo, Milestar, Federal and Nankang - Taiwan.
Kanti and Delium - Indonesia.
Kenda – Taiwan, China, and Vietnam (anywhere but the USA).
Americus and Thunderer - Thailand.
Surtrac, Venom, Westlake, Ironman, Travelstar and Roadone - China.
Okay, now that we have shed some light on the subject, what if you wanted to dig deeper into more brands? How can you tell if your tires are made here in the USA? If they are really American-made tires you will see the “Made in the USA” proudly stamped on those beautiful sidewalls. Some companies will try to hide their origins, with names like "Americus" or "Federal". However, it's easy to just check the DOT codes, which you can look up.
How to Identify Tires Made in the USA.
You can learn where a tire was made by looking at its DOT code. You will see the Tire Identification Number (TIN) after the letters DOT. The first pair of letters and/or numbers is the plant code.
This is a link for industry-wide lists to help you verify if your tires are made in the USA - https://www.tirebuyer.com/education/where-are-my-tires-made
Goodyear USA Tire Plant Codes – a few examples:
- M6 – Lawton, Oklahoma.
- MB – Akron, Ohio.
- MC – Danville, Virginia
- MM, PJ – Fayetteville, North Carolina.
- MP, PL – Tyler, Texas.
Cooper USA Tire Plant Codes – a few examples:
- 3D – Albany, Georgia.
- U9 – Tupelo, Mississippi.
- UP – Findlay, Ohio.
- UT – Texarkana, Arkansas
At this point, you are probably asking yourself: how can this be happening? How has our once proud American tire industry been so decimated by imports?
Over the past 10 years, these low-cost centers have been slowly decreasing prices and producing massive amounts of inventory, which, ultimately, put our manufacturing centers out of business.
Americans were not educated on what a Federal or Americus tire consisted of since the names sounded good enough. These are all cheap imports! So, you might be wondering: what about those initial tariffs President Trump imposed on China? They just moved their plants to avoid the tariffs to places like Thailand and Vietnam. It’s really up to each tire buyer to fight back and avoid these cheap brands. Please, offer your buying support to small, independent tire manufacturing, like TreadWright tires and price point Cooper brands (Eldorado and Mastercraft).
In addition to consumers educating themselves and buying more American Brands, we can also support organizations like the United Steelworkers, which is driving new tariffs and anti-dumping measures against these new low-cost manufacturing countries. The International Trade Commission (ITC) has supported petitions filed back in May 2020 by the United Steelworkers (USW) in support of pursuing further passenger and light truck tire duties outside of China – FINALLY! This is because Chinese companies just moved their plants to other low-cost countries when the China duties were imposed. Yeah, that bothers me too, as the United States needs to grow domestic manufacturing, and tires are the greatest all-American product to put Americans back to work.
The ITC wants to put an end to what they call “dumped and subsidized” passenger and light truck tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The USW petitions allege new dumping margins as high as 217 (Thailand), 195% (South Korea), 33% (Vietnam), and 147% (Taiwan). The petitions also detail numerous government subsidies benefiting Vietnamese tire producers – including loans, tax breaks, and grants. Ridiculous, I know.
If you want to know why it is tougher for US tire manufacturing to grow, look no further than these subsidies. Also, did you know that passenger and light truck imports from these four countries increased nearly 20% from 2017 to 2020, reaching 85M tires or 4.4B in US sales? (Growth comes from moving plants from China to these low-cost centers). Those are not American Companies! These growth rates are a slap in the face to all American factory workers. Now, if Commerce determines that dumping and/or unfair subsidization is occurring, it will instruct US customs and border protection to start collecting cash deposits from all companies trying to move these tires into the US. Please support the USW as they work to get jobs back into the US and stop this nonsense.
In conclusion, the first step to solve this problem is to stop buying cheaply-made imports and get behind American Tire Manufacturing! Check out which Treadwright Tires work for your vehicle today!