Gori: EC Standards may Agitate Problem of Low Quality Imports
Pirelli chief executive Francesco Gori, in his capacity as president of the ETRMA, has voiced concern that planned European Commission standards will hinder European tyre manufacturers in their competition with Asian rivals. In an April 23 interview reported by Reuters, Gori commented that Asian manufacturers who produce low-cost tyres can easily circumvent the standards, and the costs involved in conforming to them, as the volumes in which such tyres are arriving in European ports makes it difficult to effectively monitor product quality.
“There are not enough resources to control this invasion of products that do not conform to European standards,” said Gori. “It’s very complicated to find a solution.” While Gori does not object to the standards’ aims of improving tyre safety and environmental footprint, his objection lies in the fact that only products made in Europe must conform. “You can use cheaper materials if you make tyres that do not meet the standards. We would want that even the tyres that are imported in Europe met the same standards.”
According to Gori, Asian manufacturers hold between 10 and 20 per cent of Europe’s tyre market, and this figure is increasing by a double-digit figure annually. He added that 20 per cent of replacement tyre sales in Europe were in the budget segment where Asian made products are the strongest.
Should the proposed standards fail to deliver safeguards against tyres that do not conform, Gori said that approaching authorities in major European national markets to discuss potential means of deterring the sale of these tyres was a possible option. He spoke of strong penalties being dished out on offenders as an example to others, and raising consumer awareness of tyre safety and quality.