British tyre industry upgrades to new tyre labelling system
On 1 May 2021 new tyre labelling rules take effect across Europe. Now, the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF – the umbrella body for UK tyre associations BTMA, ITMA and NTDA) has published details of its proactive response to the rules and specifically to their implementation in the post-Brexit environment. In short, cross-industry cooperation means the latest information will be available for the market from 1 May. The UK government Department for Transport (DfT) has welcomed the tyre industry’s approach to the implementation of the new tyre labelling regulations since the solution allows the continued flow of labelling information to consumers despite initial regulatory differences between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The new label brings revised obligations for distributors as well as different definitions for some of the performance classes on the label itself. One key difference is that, under the current regulation, where tyres are not visible to the customer, it is sufficient to communicate the labelling information. However, under the new labelling legislation, distributors are obliged to show “the labels, or images of the labels, relating to the tyres offered for sale…at the time of the purchasing decision” (see page 2 of TIF’s “Roll-out of the new tyre labelling regulation (EU) 2020/740” document for complete details).
TIF characterised the situation like this: “an orderly market requires common conventions for communication between operators at every level, from manufacturer to retailer, regardless of geographic location.” And therefore, “a ‘common currency’ is needed not only between industry actors but also with the consumer.”
The challenge has been to find a solution to the practical implications of transitioning from the current labelling to the new criteria across the whole of the UK. Following Brexit, The Northern Ireland Protocol requires the Province adopts the regulation in line with the EU while the GB legal framework for adoption is still a work in progress.
The British Tyre Manufacturers Association (BTMA), International Tyre Manufacturers Association (ITMA) and National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) under the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF) umbrella, joined with the industry’s principal software solution providers to identify a solution.
No need to re-label existing stocks
One key outcome of the work described in the TIF literature is that the new ‘currency’ makes the necessary label information digitally available across the whole of the UK from 1 May. This solution takes information from the new EU product database and complements it with an automatic transformation of data already held for the current labelling regulation. It also assures the availability of consistent consumer information for all tyres offered for sale. In short, there will be no need to re-label existing stocks since the customer rarely sees the tyre before it is fitted. And, as a result, all tyre retailers across the UK, whether in Northern Ireland or GB, will be able to provide their customers with consistent information from 1 May 2021.
Karl Naylor, chair of BTMA, said: “Implementing the new labelling regulations proved to be a real challenge but I commend the industry for its efforts in finding a solution. It’s pleasing to note The Department of Transport has formally welcomed the Industry’s commitment to maintaining consistent consumer information during the interim period. Retailers can now be assured they have access to resources which allow them to inform customers of the new tyre labelling details of each and every tyre as of 1st May.”
Alfred Graham, ITMA President, said: “This is a great example of the value of cross-industry co-operation. I am delighted to see how the stakeholders have pulled together to deliver an elegant solution to this problem.”