NTDA chairman hits out at “frightening” increase in part worn sales
When National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) chairman Stephen Callow made his debut speech at the association’s 83rd annual dinner it may not of been long, but it was to the point. Callow used the opportunity to criticise what he termed as the "frightening and unacceptable" numbers of part worn tyres on sale in the UK.
He told the 500 plus members and guests, gathered for the dinner and Tyre And Fast Fit (TAFF) awards that run in parallel at the Hilton Hotel, Deansgate that market studies put the number of part worn tyres sold annually in the UK at over three million. Of course, other sources put the figure even higher.
Callow explained that the NTDA – and indeed, other sectors in the tyre industry – has been actively communicating that many of the part worn tyres on sale are dangerous, illegal and represent poor value for money across various media. He also applauded TyreSafe’s efforts to raise awareness of this and other tyre safety related issues.
Releasing details of the speech in a member’s newsletter, the NTDA added that the legislation covering the sales of part worn tyres is very clear and covers the inspection, testing and labelling of these products. The problem is that more often than not, these regulations are simply ignored by those selling the tyres and, when tyres are purchased for surveys – as part of a Trading Standards initiative, for example it is not uncommon to find that well over 90 per cent are illegal because of a lack of compliance. This of course means that many used tyres on sale have not been properly inspected and some contain objects that have penetrated the tread or sidewall, or have been badly repaired, making them more likely to fail suddenly and catastrophically while in service.
The tyre industry, said Stephen Callow, needs to keep up the momentum of making the motorist aware of the perils of part worn tyres, telling the audience “we must continue to bang the drum!”
After welcoming guests, thank partners and sponsors and giving a little background to how he came to be chairman (see box for details), Stephen Callow proceeded with focus of his speech – part worn tyres.
“As we all know this is a major issue affecting the tyre industry, and we know only too well the high numbers of part worns circulating on the market today. Over the years the NTDA has taken every opportunity to highlight the dangers, safety issues and false economy of part worn tyres.
“The NTDA logo is our badge and it represents that, we as members go to great lengths to maintain standards and to be accountable for our actions, but all too often backstreet lock-up part worn tyre dealers are not [up to this standard].”
Better enforcement and lobbying on tread limits recommended as part worn solutions
Callow continued by recommending solutions to the part worn issue as he sees it: “It is without any doubt, that the part worn issue, requires our industry’s attention. Whether it be lobbying tread limits or perhaps there is some [other] way. Due the fact we are handling a controlled waste, it could be turned to our advantage, as established responsible companies. This is yet to be seen.
“Those of you who attended last year’s TyreSafe briefing will agree, that they are to be congratulated for their efforts in highlighting these very serious issues. By gaining wide spread press coverage they have been able to help motorists realise the downfalls both in terms of safety and cost of part worn tyres. On behalf of the members I would like to thank, TyreSafe.”
However, the discourse relating to part worns continued with details of the size of the concern: “…my colleagues from the Tyre Industry Federation…keep us a breast of the UK tyre sales through their Tyre Market Study Group. They have done sterling work to produce realistic figures with regard to part worn tyre sales. Latest figures are estimated to be in excess of 3 million units per year. These levels are frightening and unacceptable in our industry today. We must continue to bang the drum.”
On European tyre labelling
The second focus of the speech was the flavour of the month – European tyre labelling: “As much as it may seem to be an inconvenience, we have to accept that labelling will be in force next month. Does every cloud have a silver lining? I think it does. I am sure that this legislation will give us the opportunity of point of sale dialogue. I believe that, with the right information, the motorist will make the correct choice when purchasing their tyres resulting in a win-win scenario for us and the customer.”
Staying on the subject of tyre labelling, Callow moved to the official launch of the Lanxess/NTDA tyre labelling app, welcoming the green tyre compound supplier in its capacity as sponsor of the TAFF awards 2012.
“I was fortunate enough to try out the European version at Essen, Germany, earlier this year. It will prove to be a very useful tool and will complement point of sale dialogue. This app has been developed by Lanxess in collaboration with the NTDA to help staff explain tyre labelling. It will demonstrate to customers that buying premium tyres can provide a net saving to the motorist over the lifetime of the tyre,” Lanxess (UK) Ltd managing director Kim O’Connor went on to announce the winners of the coveted 2012 TAFF awards.
Callow glad that ‘ridiculous’ MOT proposal has been scrapped
Stephen Callow was also glad that the ‘ridiculous’ MOT frequency change proposal that NTDA joined other industry bodies in lobbying against at last year’s dinner, has been scrapped:
“Reflecting on last year I am pleased to say that the ridiculous proposal by government to change MOT frequency has been kicked into touch. As an MOT inspector my self, I know that to change frequency would have been a total act of folly, especially as they had no intention of changing limits.
“Even the most responsible motorists rely on the MOT for the safety standards of their vehicles, not fully appreciating that the MOT is “only at time of test” and does not guarantee the vehicles road worthiness for 12 months. We are engaged in a major review of the overall test and will ensure that the concerns of our members are put to the proper authorities.”