Conti: PremiumContact 5 to be benefit from large-scale demand
Despite trends pointing towards ever-increasing rim diameters, tyres for smaller vehicle categories still enjoy strong customer appeal. This is due not only to rising demand in Central Europe but also to the trend towards growing numbers of smaller cars in the compact and medium-size categories. Traditionally strong in the OE business, thus Continental expects a healthy response to its latest summer tyre, the ContiPremiumContact 5.
Since the ContiPremiumContact range was first launched 12 years ago, European carmakers alone have issued more than 300 original equipment approvals. Continental reckons that the latest model will enable it to continue this success story. Market researchers also look to a strong response from motorists, with a significant hike in demand anticipated for the 16-inch size in particular and there in those segments approved for speeds of up to 210 km/h or over 240 km/h. Through 2016, growth in excess of 47 per cent is likely in Western and Central Europe.
In Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the largest tyre zone in Europe) experts forecast growing demand precisely for 16-inch tyres. 16-inch remains the number one diameter in the UK too. This contrasts with the prospects for smaller dimensions, where signs of a downward trend are evident.
Marketing professionals have high hopes for the especially profitable H- and V-rated tyres for speeds of up to 210 km/h and over 240 km/h. Predictions see demand for summer tyres growing by nearly 44 percent between 2011 and 2016. Based on market research, the outlook in France provides even more grounds for optimism, with demand predicted to rise by as much as 59 percent. In Northern Europe, the UK, Ireland, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula and Greece, expansion of no less than 40 percent is on the cards.
Looking at the most popular tyre sizes across the EU as a whole, the range offered in the new ContiPremiumContact 5 line-up are particularly well represented. The 205/55 R 16 V (a perennial favourite in the UK) tops the list, unchallenged. Volume sales here are set to soar by around 2 million to 13 million in the 2011-to-2013 timespan, while demand for 175/65 R 14 T tyres, the runner-up in the standings, are expected to stabilize at around 9 million units. With around 8 million units through 2013, demand for 195/65 R 15 H – occupying third place in the rankings – is expected to remain about twice as high as demand for the number four in the list (185/60 R 14 H). At no fewer than 3.8 million tyres, the latter will still be selling well across the whole of the EU.
Nevertheless, launching a tyre isn’t as easy as it used to be. Even a year ago it would have been more straightforward. The fact that Continental opted to release its latest product just before tyre manufacturers are allowed to talk about their tyre labelling performance significantly restricts what the company has been able to talk about during the launch. For this reason much of this tyre’s unveiling was preceded by additional background and context relating to labelling law.
Company representatives explicitly said that they do not believe that any tyremaker is currently able to make an “A” wet grip and “A” rolling resistance tyre on the new labelling scale. So it is safe to assume the same would be true for the Continental premiumContact 5.
However, while the company can’t talk about its tyre labels. Continental can talk about this tyre’s performance in independent magazine tests such as the chart topping results in recent tests conducted by Which? In the UK and ADAC in Germany as much as it wants (see Continental launches ContiPremiumContact 5 in Barcelona).
So what happened to the ContinPremiumContact 3 & 4?
If you were wondering why the ContiPremiumContact 5 is compared with the ContiPremiumContact 2 whenever its performance is benchmarked; and if you were wondering what happened to the ContiPremiumContact 3 and 4 the answer comes in two parts. Firstly the “4” generation was skipped for reasons of cultural sensitivity.