As well as admitting that its “practices concerning tyre tests have not always…been in line with the sustainable approach of Nokian Tyres” and that it has made “mistakes”, Nokian has now explicitly implicated other tyre manufacturers in tyre test rigging.
Writing in a stock market statement issued before the close of markets on 29 February 2016, company representatives said: “Over the years, several operators in the field, including Nokian Tyres, have been suspected or evidence has been presented against them of differences between tyres in magazine tests and tyres that are for sale in stores.”
According to Nokian, this has resulted in better testing: “The most important testers purchase their tyres from tyre retailers and they also re-test new tyres afterwards. This has been going on for years. When test manipulation did occur, the tyre submitted for the test and the tyre received by the customer were different in terms of characteristics, not quality.”
However, as the statement adds, “none of the above make our mistakes in the past more acceptable”. At the same time, company CEO Ari Lehtoranta clarified that Nokian Heavy Tyres has never been involved in any kind of test manipulation. The problem is that this, once again, is a tacit admission that Nokian did manipulate tyre tests. In the meantime, Nokian maintained that the EU tyre labels on its products are reliable.
Nokian clearly wants to put the story behind it and suggests the firm has been working to address the issue for some time, with the official statement adding: “Although the practices have substantially improved over the years, the company’s management decided to launch a thorough investigation into the matter in the autumn of 2015. Following the investigation, Nokian Tyres has ensured that any possible malpractices related to testing have been rectified. At the same time, the company has completed a review of its practices in order to increase openness and transparency in all activities.”
“We sincerely apologise for our actions in the past and want to earn the trust of the consumers and customers in the future, as well. We will continue to succeed in tests, with methods that are guaranteed to be honest”, Lehtoranta concluded.