Goodyear aiming to lead in tyre labelling

5th April 2013 | 12,345 Comments
Goodyear aiming to lead in tyre labelling

As we saw in March, the new Goodyear EfficientGrip comes in at BA 65dB on the European tyre label. With further additions said to be on their way, this puts the manufacturer in a leading position both within its own stable (Dunlop offers dry and high performance biased characteristics that don’t look as good as this on a label) and in the wider market. Following the introduction of the latest EfficientGrip Goodyear Dunlop reports that it covers three out of four sizes of Europe’s high performance summer tyre market tyres labelled CC or above.

Broken down brand, this means that 82 per cent of Goodyear tyres are CC or above. A huge 63 per cent of available sizes are at least BA graded in the summer high performance segment (H and V rated up). Dunlop on the other hand has a third of tyres below CC, 67 per cent at least CC and 57 per cent BA. While at first glance this doesn’t look too good, it can also be seen as a reflection of Dunlop’s emphasis on dry characteristics and lack of emphasis on things like rolling resistance – something you might expect from a performance-orientated brand.

This logic is supported when you drill down into the two brand’s labelling coverage in the summer ultra high performance segment. Here, Goodyear once again outperforms Dunlop in terms of labelling results, but not by as much as you might think. True 49 per cent of products are at least CC and nearly a quarter remain at least BA (24 per cent), but more than half (51 per cent are under CC). The same proportion of Dunlop tyres in this segment are lower than CC and the same share are over CC (49 per cent), however when optimising tyres that give the a performance edge, apparently there is a pay-off in terms of labelling performance and only 14 per cent of Dunlop tyres are at least BA.

With this in mind, we can perhaps attribute such discrepancies to the limitations of the tyre label itself. After all, as we all know, it only tests three characteristics – wet grip, rolling resistance and pass by noise. And as Goodyear Dunlop and many of the premium tyre manufacturers often explain, magazine tests look at something like 15 characteristics, and leading OE suppliers routinely analyse 50. (See chart “Goodyear Dunlop EMEA Tyre Labelling” for all the details).

Looking at the market in general, booth Goodyear and Dunlop compare well with their premium colleagues. However it is worth further investigating exactly which peers the company describes as premium. With Dunlop not included, Goodyear compared its standing with five other premium competitors. What is clear is that although the best competitor has a similar proportion of highly label rated tyres in its portfolio as Dunlop, none came near to Goodyear’s current range and in fact most have the majority of tyres floating around the “at least CC” level. This trend is even more market in the UHP segment. Although three competitors outperform Goodyear for the proportion of tyres CC or above, none competes for the proportion BA or above and one had three quarters of its range below CC.

Labelling limitations

Perhaps all this is why Goodyear was keen to point out both that its product excels in the dozens of other testing criteria not measured by the label and the foibles of the labelling system itself in the brand’s choice of demonstrations at the EfficentGrip Performance launch. In one of the most interesting parts of the event, which took place at Goodyear Dunlop’s Mireval proving ground near Montpellier in the South of France, journalists were given the opportunity to pitch equally label rated premium tyres against one another. Of course Goodyear Dunlop’s intention was to highlight the prowess of its latest Goodyear rubber, but the exercise did a good job of pointing out the limitations of the label system at the same time.

The curved aquaplaning demonstration compared two identical VW Golfs (one fitted with the new EfficientGrip and the other with a respected premium competitor. Cars had to drive around a wet circle, holding the line, before satellite measuring equipment calculated the amount of lane departure when the vehicles hit a 7mm pool of water. While our driving was less than empirical, there was a consistent variation of three to four meters, which itself is in keeping with what the professionals were saying. Of course the point is that two equally rated tyres can perform significantly differently in specific safety-related circumstances. Of course curved aquaplaning in 7mm of water isn’t exactly a daily occurrence for most of us. But then again departure of almost an entire motorway lane isn’t something you want to experience even once. And therefore the dual points of the performance of the new Goodyear EfficientGrip and the limitations of the labelling system are well made.

As Hugues Despres, Goodyear brand director EMEA, commented: “When we develop a tyre, we want to deliver a quality product that will continue to perform throughout its life. Thanks to technologies like WearControl, the new EfficientGrip Performance can deliver optimum wet grip and rolling resistance balance over the entire life of the tyre.”

Compact variant completes range

Following the launch Goodyear announced that, with the introduction of the EfficientGrip Performance, and the EfficientGrip Compact in a number of small sizes, it now offers a range of tyres to suit “all European road car needs.” From the EfficientGrip SUV, introduced last year to serve the larger car market, through to the Performance, Goodyear now meets a significant percentage of Europe’s total car park needs in HP and UHP with a single branded product. 

EfficientGrip Performance will, when fully rolled out, will deliver some 90 sizes, of which 28 will be UHP, ranging from 15 to 18 inch. For winter, the company is increasingly focusing on its UtraGrip range to establish a similar role.

The growth of the EfficientGrip range does not discount any other tyres currently on the market, but it does replace a number of older technologies such as Excellence, Eagle NCT5, and Duragrip. The new range, under a single product name, is designed to bring more clarity and a clear design line to Goodyear’s summer offering. 

The EfficientGrip is being offered in sizes ranging from 13 to 15 inches. The tyre will serve the EMEA car market for small vehicles. EfficientGrip Compact comes with a European tyre label B for wet grip and a C for rolling resistance in 85 per cent of the total range.

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