Continental Clarifies Tyre Labelling Report
Continental Tyre Group, the UK arm of tyre and automotive supplier Continental AG, has sought to clarify comments made on motoring website motortorque.com which criticised forthcoming tyre labelling laws. In an interview published on 4 May 2010 the website said UK managing director David Smith described the planned labelling system as “not worth the paper it’s printed on.”
However, Continental representatives said this was a misunderstanding of what was said: “In a response to a recent direct question regarding the upcoming EU label, the intention was to highlight the benefit to the consumer of the more encompassing tests carried out and published by a number of European motoring magazines and motoring organisations. It was also intended to highlight the consistent leading performance of the major tyre brands in these tests, regardless of which part of the world in which they are produced.”
The report had suggested David Smith said the regulations would make manufacturers certify their own tyres meet specific tests and that the system needs independent testing and enforcement: “The problem is these will be self-certification labels and the manufacturers can say what they like on them because the tyres are not going to be independently checked. As an industry in Europe we are very concerned about this new labelling scheme and if it is to mean anything it must be backed up by independent verification and enforcement,” Motortorque quoted Smith as saying.
However, Continental clarified what was said: “The monitoring and regulation of standards is a major challenge for any industry where the onus is on the manufacturer to declare the performance characteristics of its products, rather than performance ratings being assessed by an independent body at the outset. It has always been foreseen that the UK will have a solution for measuring, monitoring and managing the use of the EU label, and Continental Tyres are in no doubt that the finally chosen process will be easily established and robust.”
According to the Motortorque report, which has since been republished by other news sources, Smith also said: “Budget brand tyres imported from Far East and Russian manufacturers do not perform in the wet as well as the majority of European brands and are sometimes considerably worse…people have been conditioned into buying the cheapest because as an industry we haven’t helped ourselves by first offering customers a cheap tyre and then the option of a more expensive better performance tyre.”
It also said the UK currently turns over about 32 million new tyres a year, with approximately 8 million coming from the Far East and Russia.