Continental drives premium safety message home
You get what you pay for. That’s the clear message Continental was communicating to fleets, safety associations and the trade at a series of Continental experience days the company has been running at MIRA this year. The firm also ran presentations and demonstrations on the benefits of greater tread depth, winter tyre usage, OE development and the evolution of its on ContiSportContact range.
But as far as the budget versus premium comparison is concerned, Continental used MIRA’s facilities to demonstrate that – especially in wet conditions – premium rubber compounds and casing construction make all the difference, however similar a tread pattern may look to a premium tyre.
Taking a comparison from the food retailing industry, Continental raised an interesting point about an apparent lack of consumer awareness when it comes to tyres: “Consumers have a clear understanding of the difference between a budget supermarket brand and a premium one when it comes to food; for example, – the quality of the ingredients is much better and, as a result, it tastes nicer. However, many people are unaware of the differences between premium and budget when it comes to tyre brands,” the company explained.
Perhaps it is because UK law only states that the tyre must be the size it says it is and carry the load it says it can at the speed it says it can. And perhaps this is why there are over 200 brands of tyre in the UK & Ireland, they added. But it seems clear that demonstrations like Continental’s, putting drivers in a position to experience performance differences of 8 metres shorter stopping distances, 7 mph slower circling speeds and far less wet grip could make all the difference.
During the day Continental ably demonstrated the performance gap between the top and the bottom ends of the quality divide, but with some pretty start contrasts here alone it raises other questions. All the research points to large numbers of UK motorists driving on underinflated tyres which also greatly increase stopping distances and reduce handling performance. Since the recession, there has been consistent anecdotal reports of retailers taking off increasing amounts of illegal and bald tyres. With this in mind, what kind of stopping distances would these motorists achieve driving blissfully unaware on underinflated, illegally low tread and poorly selected tyres?