A row is brewing between a small New Jersey tyre importer and US government authorities over the responsibility of recalling nearly half a million faulty tyres.

Foreign Tyre Sales has requested help from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as it looks to recall 450,000 Chinese-made tyres.

The tyres are reported to have inadequate gum strips, used to prevent tread separation. According to FTS, the tyres, which are used as replacements on pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, could fall apart.

However, an NHTSA official told Bloomberg News the agency was “outraged” that FTS believes it should deal with the recall.

“There is no provision in the law to assist companies in cases of safety defect recalls,” Medford said. Foreign Tyre Sales has a “real obligation to conduct a recall,” the official said.

FTS meanwhile claims it cannot afford the recall, although it recognises one is necessary.

The tyres, built by based in Hangzhou, China-based Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber  for FTS, are sold under the brand names Westlake, Telluride, Compass and YKS.

It was reported that Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber had changed the makeup of the tyres without the consent or knowledge of FTS.