Finland’s central police agency, the National Bureau of Investigation, has completed its pre-trial investigation related to Nokian Tyres and accusations of tyre test rigging. It has referred the case to the Prosecutor’s Office of Helsinki.
Along with Nokian’s admission and apology for “mistakes” in its practices concerning tyre tests, the Finnish tyre manufacturer stated that “several operators in the field… have been suspected or evidence has been presented against them of differences between tyres in magazine tests and tyres that are for sale in stores.” After the Nokian statement’s implication of other tyre manufacturers in malpractice regarding independent tyre testing, Michelin immediately responded by stating categorically that it has “never designed or manufactured tyres specifically for tests conducted by the media, automobile associations or any other organisations.” Tyres & Accessories approached 11 more of the world’s leading manufacturers, many of whose products regularly appear in magazine tests, for their response to the question: Have you ever designed or manufactured tyres specifically for tests conducted by the media, automobile associations or any other organisations? Listed below are their responses.
Last week, the world learned that Nokian Tyres may have supplied bespoke products to tyre testers in past years in order to win or perform better in their tests. In the wake of the publication of such allegations, Michelin has issued a statement regarding its own approach to tyre testing. The tyre maker affirms that it has “never designed or manufactured tyres specifically for tests conducted by the media, automobile associations or any other organisations.”
Nokian Tyres has apologised for past “mistakes” with magazine tyre tests. In an official statement company representatives said: “we apologise and regret the mistakes we have made in the past,” adding that the company’s tyres have “always been safe.
Finnish newspaper Kauppalehti has accused Nokian Tyres of making bespoke tyres for tyre testers in order to improve its test results. And what’s worse the paper says it has been going on for 10 years. Kauppalehti cites internal Nokian emails it has seen as being evidence supporting its story.