The Awful Scenario of Tyre Smuggling in Pakistan

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Looking back in the year 1985, General Tyre witnessed the most desirable expansion after the company’s opening in 1964. The company’s annual production increased from a mere 800 tyres to a staggering 2500 tyres per day. But sadly this growth was not enough to cater to the local market growth, which led to the inception of tyre smuggling in Pakistan. According to Tribune, 25 billion rupees worth of tyres were smuggled into the country during 2012-13, which was enough to satisfy 32% of the market’s demand.

 

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General Tyre has admitted that the annual production can be raised to more than 2 million tyres but unfortunately due to the market perception, smuggling and imports; the company’s sales have suffered and it is producing only 1.6-1.7 million tyres a year. Here I would like to mention that Genral Tyres come installed in almost all the variants of the cars that are being manufactured in Pakistan, which basically makes me want to raise a question on two issues:

1: Do we perceive the locally manufactured things to be of a lower value?
2: What has the Govt. of Pakistan done in order to combat the issue of tyre smuggling?

The answer to the first question is based on the perception of people, which I might add, varies from a person to person. Nonetheless, this wrong perception with the local tyres is generally associated with sub-par product finishing and life. It is reported in many cases that the ‘Euro Star’ brand of the General Tyres is a bit too hard for the ride’s sake, but the fact remains that if a tyre gets de-shaped after 10-20k kilometers then it faces some issues or it might be an exception in a batch (Especially in my case). And then there is the case of diverse choice, which is offered by the imported tyres.

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Now on to the answer of second question, which I believe is not just limited to the Govt. but the local population as well. People need to realize the scope of damage this act of smuggling causes to the growth and sustenance of tyre industry in Pakistan. Moreover, these smugglers provide no warranty of the tyres and they are generally bought on the word of mouth.

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This leads me to address the risks attached with buying an Imported Tyre in Pakistan. Because hundreds of motorists are scammed on daily basis, just because of their lack of knowledge. So I did some homework on my own and decided to list down my findings.

#1 Try to Avoid Chinese Tyres

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During my research, I stumbled upon many cases where people reported that they had bought Chinese tyres, which failed to perform. This situation might have occurred due to the lack of product knowledge and inquisitiveness on the customer’s part, but the fact still stays strong that people need to be extra careful when it comes to the Chinese brands and in my opinion should stay away from them.

#2 Be Cautious When You Buy Imported Tyres

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There are a few obvious signs on an imported tyre if you know what you are looking for. For example: Check the hologram stickers on the wrapping, these seals are designed to get damaged if the packing is tempered with.

#3 Serial Numbers and Invoice

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If any digit of the tyre code is removed or tempered with, you should be vigilant immediately. These tire codes are a sequence of numbers which represent information about the tyre. And always ask for an invoice because any authenticated dealer of APTIDA (All Pakistan Tyres Importers and Dealers Association) will never try to back track or wiggle their out of purchase invoice.

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There are a lot of things to consider while purchasing an imported tyre, but if you are careful, I believe you will be able to avoid scammers. But, imported tyres are expensive as compared to the locally produced tyres, which means not all of the motorists can afford them. Hence, they tend to favour used tyres. I would highly advise off not doing so, because there is a misconception regarding the used tyre and old tyres. An untouched manufactured tyre two years ago is still safer than a used tyre manufactured a year ago. So I would suggest to buy locally produced tyres if you are on a tight budget.

 

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According to the recently released PakWheels.com Auto-Industry Survey; 62% out of 11,000+ participants of the survey admitted to preferring General Tyres (21%), Bridgestone (21%) and Dunlop (20%). Here I should mention that local production manages to complete only 23% and imported tyres complete the 40% market demand, while the rest falls prey to the smuggled tyres. Not only does this (smuggling) issue stop the investment from foreign investors but it is also responsible for the lack of growth in the local tyre industry.

So, I believe that the Govt. needs to start the crackdown on this issue of tyre smuggling, because it will help in placating the concerns of investors, which might eventually lead to the introduction of new entrants in the local tyre industry.

Every situation has a lot of angles in it, I just tried to pen one of these angles. If you think that I should address something that is equally important, do let me know. I will take a note and hopefully write something on it. And feedback is always welcome.

We all make mistakes in life but I believe in learning from them and that is why I have opted to become an auto-journalist. I have a tech background but I prefer to write and express my views on cars because I am petrol head.

  • Awais Yousaf

    Very nice info!

  • Sanjay Natarajan

    Very informative article as usual.
    Just a thought, how about keeping a LIKE button at the end of the article such that viewers can hit like if they felt so!

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    Euro Star is a good tyre and most people prefer Dunlop Sp Sport if not that. Good experience with Dunlop on my part

  • Guest

    1. Ironically, the things (that are mentioned in the article) to be careful about when buying imported tyres aren’t available on General tyres, such as manufacturing date and holographic wrapping.

    2. The writer is not sure he is talking about smuggled tyres or counterfeit/forgeries. Smuggled tyre is a perfectly manufactured tyre, just it comes through without paying tax. Counterfeit tyre is an altogether different story, who is stopping from paying tax on the counterfeit tyre whose hologram packing has been tampered with?
    Is it expected that packing of legally imported tyre would not be tampered with, and packing of smuggled tyre would be compulsorily tampered with?

    3. The article suggests to always ask for invoice as “APTIDA registered tyre supplier will never back out”. Begs many questions.
    3a. What kind of future-telling is this?
    3b. What if a member of APTIDA goes rogue and decides to back out? What sort of reconciliation mechanism is present?
    3c. Supplier will back out of what? What sorts claim can a purchaser lay on the supplier to aat which stage a backing out or confrontation would be expected?

    4. The article mentions that Chinese tyres failed to perform. But it doesn’t specify how it failed to perform? Does the wheel not rotate or the tyre decides it doesn’t want to fit on the stupney?
    There is a general consensus in the market that Chinese tyres come with very soft sidewalls and during turning, the tyre cannot maintain its shape and tend to “lie down” on the outer sidewall, leading to instability of car and bead leaving the rim in some cases.

    But how is this all related to smuggling? A lawfully imported Chinese tyre is going to behave the same as a legally imported one, how is it even relevant?

    5. The criticism of General tyres: Should I even start with it?

  • Abdul Hanan

    I also prefer Dunlop tyres, but I didn’t meant to state any discriminating material against General Tyres, I just shared my personal experience.
    Especially when I had mentioned this in this blog entry
    “…or it might be an exception in a batch (Especially in my case)…”

  • Abdul Hanan

    1: “This leads me to address the risks attached with buying an Imported Tyre in Pakistan. Because hundreds of motorists are scammed on daily basis, just because of their lack of knowledge…”
    As you can see I was trying to inform the readers by mentioning the risks being attached with buying imported tyres, not General Tyres.
    2: This is a very good point, which I might add holds the merit of a separate blog entry to explain the difference between both these terms.
    4: Yes this point should have been mentioned in detail, but as you would have guessed by reading the article that I opted for a more length friendly approach and missed out on explaining this particular angle of the problem in detail.
    5: “…but the fact remains that if a tyre gets de-shaped after 10-20k kilometers then it faces some issues or it might be an exception in a batch (Especially in my case)…” This representation was based my own personal experience and some PakWheels forum users, it was not to meant to come out as something offensive.
    3: I think this point would have been made very clear and authentic if I had mentioned the links to APTIDA, but my search yielded no results on their digital footprints. And that goes without adding the fact that I should have been more specific when I mentioned “…back out…” in this blog entry [As obvious by your sub-questions 3(a,b,c)].

    The feedback of readers is always valued, and especially from the readers who provide critical assessment of the blog entries, which help us (writers) to improve our writing styles.

  • MARK

    Please note: There are thousands or rather hundreds of thousand General b-Class tires being sold in market and authorised General tyre dealers sell them at regular price, customer is being cheated there as well with General tyre.
    More than 40% of new car owner chance General tyre with Imported brands at first stage because various quality, comfort, drive, safety, braking reasons etc.
    Facts is , if general tires is compared internally with other Japanese or European brands then it is not unto the mark, even many Chinese brands are even better with a list of qualities undoubtedly.
    As for smuggling it is for sure a nuisance, it hurts economy and Govt.revenue plus the main safety factor is these smuggled tires are brought IN / transported IN under poor condition rather in a state which hurts tire and it becomes a threat to life, may it be any brand or any origin.

  • Hassan

    Try to Avoid Chinese Tyres
    I think this part is not entirely correct, i have used a Chinese brand LandSail which are of very good quality, they are sold in Europe and America too.

  • AbdulB1

    just dumb Pakistani mentality avoid Chinese….. stupids cant even read even iphone says assembled in China.

  • AbdulB1

    General tyre has quality issues, the reason is lack of law and order , unstable electric supplies, lack of government loans and subsidies as offered by China or other countries.

  • Wanderlust

    stupid article…perhaps sponsored by general tyres. not 100,000s of customers are stupid to prefer imported tyres over general. Re smuggling, why govt is not stopping this obvious crime of trucks crossing the border and then daily local trucks carrying shit tyres from kpk to karachi?

    And why not chinese tyres? another sponsored bad mouthing….. i purchased jinyu tyres for my ride and these proved awesome….soft and comfortable experience….after running 30,000 km, there was not a single puncture and tread looked still new.

    very bad article from pakwheels…..selling pen 🙁

  • Abdul Hanan

    “…During my research, I stumbled upon many cases where people reported that they had bought Chinese tyres, which failed to perform. This situation might have occurred due to the lack of product knowledge and inquisitiveness on the customer’s part, but the fact still stays strong that people need to be extra careful when it comes to the Chinese brands and in my opinion should stay away from them…”
    This representation was based on a couple of very close friend’s experience with the Chineese tyres, some bad experiences of PakWheels forum users and my own research. It was not to meant to come out as something offensive, I just wanted to share my opinion with fellow motorists to be very vigilant when buying (Chineese/Any) tyres.

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    Im not saying that you have stated discriminating material against General. But the kind of General tyres that are sold here or come with a new car do have problems, almost 50% of the time that is why people opt for different brands.

  • Guest again

    USA recently put a blanket ban on import of any Chinese tyres. What do you think about it?

    Do you the difference between importing job lot and stock lot?

  • Guest again

    General tyres lose their properties very soon, the rubber greys out and loses its grip (you can observe by the ABS kicking in again and again). The internal structure (steel and nylon fibers of the steel and nylon belts) breaks leading to de-shaping, swelling etc. overall dangerous.

    General tyres are made with good technology from Continental (Germany). But the material and process they use here does not result in tyres as good as Japanese or European origin. If you see, Michelin or Dunlop tyres maintain their properties for a very long time, giving consistent and satisfying performance.

    General tyres are too hard and too heavy (I usually take a weighing scale with me and buy lighter tyres to save fuel).

  • Guest

    China is a very large country with very large population. They have a very large demand of tyres. Consider every month they buy around 1.9 mn new cars (passenger cars, source chinaautoweb). This means they need at least 5 x 1,900,000 = 9,500,000 new tyres each month for those cars belonging to both local and foreign brands but manufactured in China.

    Because of very high comsumption, they have many factories of foreign brands such as Kumho, GT Radial etc.
    And then they have their own brands such as Triangle (the biggest one) and others. IMO Triangle tyres are good as we have seen them in 22-wheelers in competition with Bridgestone Super R187. However their tyres for passenger cars, not so good from performance & longevity POV.

    It is true that in 2012, Kumho Tianjin were caught producing substandard tyres as compared to Kumho factories in S. Korea itself. Which resulted (in some fines IIRC) and a recall. There is a reason to avoid made in China tyres even if they belong to famous international brands.

    In China, it is easy for foreign companies get caught doing things as they are fined, then those fines are used to subsidize local producers in turn reducing foreign dependence and causing the foreign manufacturers to go bust.

  • AbdulB1

    If tyres were ever exported from Pakistan to USA they would had been banned much earlier. The reason is USA talks about quality control. Pakistani quality is even worse than Chinese. Pakistani cars are made from cheap low grade iron with no galvanization and without airbags to save money by greedy Japanese car makers but FAW is better than them here why??? because Pakistanis accept crap as it is they dont care about what quality it has, I lived in China for 5 years. No body even heard those unknown cheap and low quality brands what are sold in Pakistani markets. They just know best Chinese brands and their products work too not like some crap found here.

  • Guest yet again

    There is a reason I asked you these 2 questions.

    Let me tell you that banning of Chinese tyres is not because of road safety considerations but because of what what USA calls economic war of China. Chinese tyres factories are heavily subsidized by the government and they export tyres much cheaper than any other source. Hence USA, to encourage fair competition, banned them. If USA was so interested in safety, then Ford Explorer Firestone fiasco aka Ford Exploder won’t have happened.

    I’ll let you find out on your own about job lot and stock lot.

    And yes Chinese people are crazy for foreign brands just like Pakistani people are crazy for imports.

  • AbdulB1

    Nearly every country with some brains subsidize their undeveloped sectors except Pakistan which burn money on circular debt created by corrupt practises.

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    correct.. imported General nai milte kaheen se?

  • Usman Haider Sheikh

    I’m an importer myself (not of tyres though), I’ve used Chinese tyres on many cars (2 coure, 2 corolla’s, a mehran) and they do perform better than local General and used imported tyres in terms of grip and longevity. It all comes to one’s budget as quality Chinese tyres are equal, more expensive than General tyres but less than imported brands, the experience is better than the basic imported tyres even especially better than sp sport equal to a drive, but not better than premium tyres like advan db, c drive, or cc5. Regarding Job lot and Stock lot, their regular manufacture is quality control and irregulated, bad pieces have still less probability of faults than our local produce.

  • Usman Haider Sheikh

    I find sp sport too hard with no grip, and stereotype it as bolan wala tyre (you’d see that in most riced out bolans). Even the smuggled job series tyres of yokohama that are for minivans and minitrucks in Japan performed better in my experience.

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    I’ve had good experience with dunlops but I will buy yokohama next as my friends praise about it a lot. Paisa phenk tamasha dekh (not in the case of pak assembled cars though)

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