On 8 January, the UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations endorsed a proposal outlining two methodologies for assessing tyre abrasion within the framework of UN Regulation No. 117. The proposal adopted by the Working Party on Noise and Tyres entails measuring the reduction in tyre weight caused by abrasion, with results quantified in milligrams per kilometre per tonne of load on the tyre.
Pirelli has confirmed that it is among the tyre manufacturers in European Union member states receiving an unannounced visit from European Commission investigators today, according to Tyrepress sister site PneusNews. The EC is concerned that companies producing replacement market tyres for cars, vans, trucks and busses may have “violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.” A Pirelli spokesperson said the company “has always acted in total compliance with all rules and regulations,” adding that “it is guaranteeing full support” to investigators.
The European Commission is carrying out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the tyre industry “in several “member states”. The reason? “The commission has concerns that the inspected companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices”, according to an official statement. So far, Nokian Tyres,Continental, Goodyear, Pirelli, and Bridgestone have confirmed they have received an unannounced inspection.
Shortly before the Christmas Break, the European Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the Euro 7 Regulation for motor vehicles. The European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) says it “welcomes” this step towards enshrining tyre abrasion as the fourth tyre characteristic to be regulated after rolling resistance, wet grip and external rolling noise.
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre listed tyres as a priority product in its preliminary study for a new regulation that will mandate the Commission to develop secondary legislation on specific product groups. The European Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on this regulation last week. If confirmed, its inclusion of tyres “will reinforce industry’s long-standing commitment to make its products more sustainable and contribute to the European Union’s circular economy goals.”
Symbio, Michelin’s equally owned joint venture with automotive supplier Forvia and vehicle manufacturer Stellantis, has inaugurated its SymphonHy facility today. Located in Saint-Fons, within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, the site houses Symbio’s headquarters, a production plant, an innovation hub and the Symbio Hydrogen Academy.
On 19 January, the European Commission extended anti-dumping duties on aluminium road wheels from China for a further five years. The extension follows an expiry review investigation, which showed that these wheels continue to be dumped on the EU market and that industry within the European Union would suffer significant harm if the measures were allowed to lapse.
The European Commission published details of the new Euro 7 standards on 10 November 2022. According to the commission, Euro 7 will “ensure cleaner vehicles on our roads and improved air quality, protecting the health of our citizens and the environment.” The transport industry has become familiar with the increasingly demanding Euro series of standards over the years. Up till now, they have focused on vehicle exhaust emissions, something that tyres can only indirectly affect through reduced rolling resistance and its impact on fuel consumption and therefore emissions. This time round however, Euro 7 brings with it standards relating to particle emissions from tyres and brakes.
Continental considers the Russian dandelion an attractive alternative source of natural rubber for its tyres and has conducted research into its suitability for more than a decade. This Taraxagum project now has a new research partner, German plant breeder Kartoffelzucht Böhm.
The latest EU sanctions against Russia will seriously affect Nokian Tyres and its business in Europe. The tyre maker says the sanctions will have a “significant impact” on its ability to manufacture tyres in Russia, which will reduce its ability to sell tyres in the EU, and within Central Europe in particular.
A number of European industry associations, including vehicle manufacturers’ association the ACEA and wheel manufacturers’ association EUWA, have issued an “urgent call for action against the imminent risk of Europe-wide production shutdowns as a consequence of a critical shortage in the supply of magnesium from China.”
A new manager will lead the Brussels political office of tyre maker and technology company Continental from 1 August 2021. Fadie Al-Masri will succeed Desmond A. Collins, who is retiring at the end of July after nine years in the job.
From 1 May, the new EU rules on the energy labelling of on-road tyres apply at consumer level. Updating the label first introduced for car and van tyres in 2012, the new rules require that tyres for buses and lorries must now be labelled – and offer a new pictogram, where relevant, to highlight tyres suitable for use in snow or in extreme, icy conditions.
On 19 January 2021, 26 Members of the European Parliament wrote to Oliver Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations about concerns relating to “growing Chinese influence in Serbia and the impending environmental damage resulting from several heavy industrial projects in Serbia by Chinese owned companies”. The group are particularly interested in scrutinising Serbia’s apparently “generous” subsidies and environmental compliance protocols.
The European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association says it “welcomes” the European Commission’s ‘Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy’, which it presented yesterday. The association representing tyre makers in Europe stresses that tyres can make a “sustainable contribution” to the decarbonisation and digital transformation of EU transport system.