Fullrun, Autogrip displaying new tyres, talks label controversy
Qingdao’s Fullrun Tyre Corp is spending its time at Reifen China 2012 introducing new models to its range of tyres, some of which are distributed in the UK through Micheldever, Kings Road Tyres and Malvern Tyres’ King David Tyres. The latest Fullrun-branded products on the stand are the F6000 passenger car high performance tyre, which it says it plans to distribute to King David, and the new TB1000 truck pattern. Autogrip also has the AG66 PCR, which Fullrun says will be distributed by Micheldever in the UK. According to the company’s representatives, 90 per cent of its Fullrun tyres are rated “either EC or CE”.
In addition to the tyres produced by the company in Qingdao, Fullrun claims it is China’s largest exporter of tyres in its guise as a trading company. The company acts as an agent for more than 100 tyre brands, produced at more than 50 different factories. It claims to achieve US$500 million total tyre sales around the world, with 90 per cent of these in export markets. It is most active in Europe and the USA, which account for even splits of 50 per cent of its trading company export sales. However, with 20 per cent into the Middle East, 15 per cent in South America and 10 per cent to Africa, the trading company’s exports are fairly evenly distributed amongst growing markets too.
Fullrun addresses Autogrip tyre label controversy
Fullrun Tyre brand Autogrip gained some level of infamy on the web in the UK earlier this year when a picture of two apparently identical 215/55ZR16 97W XL tyres from its range sporting different wet grip and rolling resistance ratings was tweeted by @MichelinTyres. The picture was subsequently published online by Tyrepress.com (see “Comment: Why we need labelling enforcement”, published on 4 October 2012 for further details) with the brand and model obscured, in an article making the case for increased attention on labelling legislation enforcement.
At Reifen China, Fullrun Tyre managing director Liu Zi Jin exercised his right to reply when T&A visited the company’s stand. He suggested that the label marking the tyre as a BB-graded product had been produced after the initial test yielded this result, while variance in testing data available later had led to the company taking the decision to label the product CC.
This account was backed by Dr Hongwei Li, general manager and chief engineer of the Tire Technology Alliance, who had performed the labelling tests on the tyres for Fullrun. She further stated that the speed with which Fullrun’s Marketing department had labelled the tyre initially, siezing on a very high ranking, had likely led to the presence of a BB label on the product, which has subsequently been labelled CC. Liu Zi Jin said the company had decided to opt for “safety” in the ultimate CC grading, though he maintained that the tyre had achieved a BB performance according to some test data.