Getting it Right
Few people in the tyre business would argue against the fact that cold weather tyres confer significant safety benefits when temperatures fall – the figure of 7ºC is the usual benchmark quoted – and yet the cold weather tyre market in the UK is a fraction of the overall total.
According to Pirelli, there are a number of reasons for this, including the motoring culture and the temperate climate, both of which make it difficult to convince the public of the benefits of changing their tyres. In order to achieve this, Pirelli believes that there would need to be a very high level of education and discipline on the part of the motorists in order to ensure that changeovers were carried out at the appropriate time.
To fundamentally change the culture and habits of motorists would be an awesome task – to persuade them that the costs associated with cold weather tyres (for example, having the tyres ready mounted on a spare set of rims) provide tangible benefits, would be a major education job. And of course, there are commercial considerations – however laudable it might be to improve safety by creating a cold weather tyre market, the truth is that it has to have a commercial payback somewhere along the line. Yes the cold weather tyre market is growing in the UK, but it is still small and to grow it dramatically and quickly would involve tremendous investment. While manufacturers are helping to spread the message about cold weather tyres, it is unreasonable to expect them to throw millions at a sector which gives them little return.
Pirelli thinks that the best way to improve cold weather sales is to have the correct product available at the right price, with the correct distribution network and the correct promotion. If you get these factors right, then sales will increase, but it will be a steady growth, rather than an explosion.
Pirelli Launches Winter Stock Packs
With the range of cold weather tyres becoming increasingly diverse, having knowledge of the most popular sizes is critical in making a sale. This is where Pirelli says it can help. Pirelli have prepared cold weather tyre stock packs designed to assist dealers in selecting the most popular sizes to put on their shelves. Cold Weather tyre stocks have started to arrive in Pirelli’s UK warehouses and will continue through September and October. Any company wishing to get more details can contact their Pirelli sales manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OE factor
Something which many do not always appreciate is that premium tyre manufacturers such as Pirelli are very active in the original equipment market, where tyres are chosen for their all-round abilities over a wide range of disciplines and conditions. The successful OE tyre manufacturer has to satisfy his customer’s demands and these normally involve tyres having optimum all-round performance characteristics. After all, when was the last time that you saw a new car that came with a set of summer tyres and a cold weather set?
Having said that, Pirelli recognises that there is a demand for cold weather sizes and, in accordance with the principles outlined earlier (right product, right price, right promotion and distribution), the company has a range of products designed for this sector.
The first of these is the Sottozero, whose name (it means “below zero”) gives an idea of what it is designed to do. It is described as ideal from mid-autumn to early spring and provides grip and traction on ice, snow and in the wet, with no loss of performance on dry asphalt.
Sottozero is a high performance cold weather tyre, in H and V speed ratings, with aspect ratios from 30 series to 65 series and for rims from 15″ to 20″. Some run-flat sizes are also available. The fact that it is an hp product can be seen by the fact that a Directional-Asymmetric pairing of Sottozero tyres is approved by Lamborghini for the Gallardo.
Next is the range of Snowsport tyres (63 in all), which are available in T, H and V speed ratings with aspect ratios from 70 down to 30 series and for wheel diameters of 14″ to 19″. The asymmetric tread design and special, cold-weather compounds provide control and grip in all weathers. Again, some run-flat sizes are available.
Snowcontrol is a range of tyres aimed at city cars up to higher powered models and MPVs. The 28 sizes come in Q and T speed ratings and the new tread compounds combine excellent low temperature performance with ride comfort and low noise levels. Aspect ratios are from 80 series down to 55 and the Snowcontrol fits rims from 15″ up to 20″.
The final tyre in Pirelli’s winter portfolio is the Scorpion Ice & Snow, specifically designed to enhance the low temperature performance of fast, luxury SUVs the 34 tyres in the range are speed rated T, H and V, have aspect ratios from 75 down to 45 series and fit rims from 15″ up to 20″ diameter. A specialised compound and profile allows the Scorpion Ice & Snow to work well at low temperatures, even on gravel and rough surfaces, combining safety, control and comfort, whatever the conditions.