I finally gave up and went to the source.
After finding the last M2 Modle Kit of the 1954 Chevrolet 3100 Pick Up, that had all the ORIGINAL parts in it (instead of crappy substitutes inserted into the package and returned to the store), I purchased it and brought it home.
Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the white wall tires in the kit had scuff marks across the white band.
I wrote to M2/Castline, explained the situation, and also took the time to suggest that they start packaging their products in the “armored” clam shell type package, using Greenlight products as an example.
I told them about all the M2 products found with hot wheels or matchbox cars (or worse) substituted for the real product and returned. Mostly to walmarts.
I got an answer to my email! I was to receive a replacement set of tires! They showed up a couple of days ago:
Not only excellent customer service, but check out the stamps! I’m going to pretend this was on purpose, no matter what anyone says.
There was no comment made on the matter of substitution in the packahes, but on the off chance that Castline/M2 has a person who reads the posts on LaLD, I’d like to ask everyone to re-post their photos of M2 “substitutions” they have encountered while perusing the diecast aisles. I know a lot of them have been shared here, but maybe getting them all together under one post might illustrate how widespread this problem is, and encourage a change in packaging? One can only hope!