Modern Tire Dealer

MAY 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D M a y 2 0 1 9 52 E u r o p e a n N o t e b o o k T ire labeling legislation was first introduced in 2012 in Europe. e last seven years have seen a lot of contested debate on the merits of the label, where it should be fitted and whether retail tire dealers actually pay much attention to explaining what the ruling means to car drivers. Ever since the label was introduced arguments have continued relentlessly right across the European tire market as to whether the label goes far enough in its measures. Eventually the market demand for reform in all European countries became so strong that in March 2018 the European Commission (EU) adopted a proposal for new regulation adjustments to the label in order to further enhance levels of fuel efficiency, safety and the reduction of road noise to give "cleaner, safer and quieter" tires. As you would expect right through last year there was a constant amount of discussion and opinion and in September 2018 following a few slight amendments to their original proposal the European Commission confirmed the introduction of the next phase of its European tire labeling legislation, which now includes necessary information on tire grip in road conditions affected by snow and ice. e EU also gave notice of its intention to include information on future labels to include wear and mileage performance once suitable testing methods have been established. At the same time provisions have been made for the future inclusion of suitable labels for retreaded tires, which will come into force (once again) when suitable measuring facilities have been developed for testing. In addition, there will now be an obligation to register all tires for sale in a company's product database. Finally, in my opinion, probably the most interesting new adjust- ments proposed concern the display of a label so that it is clearly visible on a tire for the end user to see when inspecting a tire, and more clear regulation around the selling of tires on the internet. All of these new decisions on future tire labeling are intended to improve a label's visibility to potential buyers and to ensure they are fully informed about a tire's label rating at the point of a sale. However, it is interesting to note the proposed new legislation has disappointed environmentalists, as in their opinion it does not go far enough to protect the environment. Following pressure from national governments throughout Europe, tire distributors will be allowed to display the tire label information near where a tire is stored rather than attached to a tire. So that is the present position regarding European tire labeling, but it will never surprise me if the debate within the industry continues to lean toward even more changes in the future. In my opinion, the scenario of presenting safety and performance labels on tires is an "open ended book," and there is no conclusion to just how far the information can go to measure a tire's suitability to be fitted to a car. However, I also feel the main problem lies with not what is actually displayed on a tire but whether a label is actually recognized as a safety measure by tire retailers, as in my travels over the last 12 months I have witnessed varying degrees of efficiency by tire sales staffs from very high to blatant complacency. In the worst cases the salesperson is more concerned with confirming the sale of a tire than explaining the merits of different tire labels. To be honest, all the blame for this disappointing situation cannot be placed on the tire retailer because in many European countries, the replacement of a tire to a driver is seen as an expensive setback, and even today in Europe buying tires is still regarded as a "distress purchase." On a positive note, I think the situation is improving, but very slowly. e only solution is tires and, in particular, the care of them should be significantly upgraded in terms of marketing and promotional presentation. ■ John Stone has been working within the global tire industry for the last 28 years. In 2004 he launched his own consulting company, Sapphire Media Service, which caters to business media clients around the globe. Stone also writes for tire and automotive-related publications in Europe, South Africa and Asia. Europe upgrades its tire labeling HOWEVER, THE SAME PROBLEMS WITH THE LEGISLATION REMAIN John Stone By COURTESY OF SAPPHIRE MEDIA SERVICE European tire labelling is still in "uncertain waters."

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