DEKRA Test Centre to Compare Premium Brand Tyres
With worldwide automotive manufacturers feeling simultaneous and significant economic and ecological pressures, remaining at the cutting edge in terms of research and development is vital for the premium brands to create the sense of worth necessary to continue selling tyres at the upper end of the pricing sheet. As a significant factor in achieving this goal, the Michelin Group earmarks 600 million Euros for research and development annually.
For part of its testing this year, the French manufacturer is outsourcing to the DEKRA Test Centre, based in Narbonne, France. The 2009 tests will compare Michelin’s Energy Saver in size 195/65R15 91H, the Primacy HP (225/55R16 95W) and the Primacy Alpin PA3 (205/55R16 91H) with examples from the ranges of the premium brand manufacturers Bridgestone (B250, Turanza ER300, LM25), Continental (PremiumContact 2, WinterContact TS830), Dunlop (SP Sport Fast Response, SP Winter Sport 3D), Goodyear (Excellence, Ultra Grip 7+) and Pirelli (P6 Cinturato, P7). Results from the tests will be provided by DEKRA in May for the performance and high performance sizes and in September for the cold weather head-to-head, so readers are advised to check forthcoming issues and on Tyrepress.com for the results.
Speaking to Tyres & Accessories before a recent DEKRA presentation, Michelin director of technical communications, Pierre Menendez emphasised the importance of looking in concert at the three major areas of tyre performance when testing: safety, longevity – otherwise referred to as “tyre life” – and fuel consumption. While technical testing that focuses on individual components can certainly provide useful data, its focus on certain features – when taken out of the context of other equally important factors – can provide highly discrepant views of the same tyre. Exemplifying this is the relative performance in two sets of tests of the Maloya Futura Primato (size 185/60R14 H). In 2005’s Auto Express test, which consumer editor Kim Adams said had “a bias towards testing in the wet” to emphasise the limits of tyres’ performance, Vredestein’s second brand came second only to its parent company’s Hi-Trac, upstaging other premium products. However, in April 2009’s Which? Magazine tests, the tyre’s continued good performance in the wet (awarded four stars out of five) was weighed up against Which?’s assertion that it “was the worst in this test for braking on dry roads”, culminating in a “Don’t Buy” recommendation.
The DEKRA organisation has been brought in, said Menendez, to provide “impassionate, thorough, reliable results” to meet the need for stringent testing of premium products, taking into account realistic, “open road” factors in terms of tyres’ safety features, their longevity and their fuel consumption. It will be interesting to see the analysis, which will be included alongside a full write-up of the test centre’s methodology on Tyrepress.com and in Tyres & Accessories Magazine soon.