Michelin has been a vocal advocate of whole life tyre performance for several years now. Its belief that tyres should perform safely until reaching the legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm is gaining traction, and Michelin is confident that, within the next few years, tyre labelling will provide greater insight into how wear affects performance, particularly in wet conditions. The tyre maker is currently reiterating its commitment to ‘Long Lasting Performance’ and sharing the latest efforts to better inform tyre buyers. Further details will be reported here on Tyrepress.com and in next month’s Tyres & Accessories magazine.
With immediate effect, thermal management expert Behr Hella Service will print a QR code on all its product packaging labels. This will enable wholesalers and workshops to get product information on their smartphones.
While some manufacturers lobby for tyres to be replaced at 3 or even 4 mm, Michelin maintains that the current legal limit of 1.6 mm is “perfectly suited” to modern motoring and has reaffirmed its opposition to a change in the legislation. Indeed, during the course of the Paris Motor Show, Michelin’s top executives will be making this argument with journalists, OEMs and of course the public. Tyres & Accessories spoke with Michelin senior vice president and the person responsible for overseeing the company’s whole-life tyre performance project, Bernard Delmas.
The over-riding logic behind Michelin’s argument is that “new tyres” don’t really exist because tyres begin to be worn from the moment they roll off the production line. Therefore Michelin argues that all tyres should offer strong and consistent performance across all criteria right down to the wear indicator at 1.6 mm.
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.
As well as admitting that its “practices concerning tyre tests have not always…been in line with the sustainable approach of Nokian Tyres” and that it has made “mistakes”, Nokian has now explicitly implicated other tyre manufacturers in tyre test rigging.
Following on from the second Kraiburg summit, Kraiburg Austria invited its Czech and Slovakian customers to a workshop at the end of September in Cerna Hora in the Czech Republic. During the even the retreading specialist shared its stance on various “pro-retread” campaigns and gave a status report on the ReTyre project, explaining the background behind the impending tyre labelling.
The introduction of the European tyre label in November 2012 resulted in murmurs from some tyre makers – most notably Nokian Tyres – about its unsuitability for appraising their winter ranges, and the Finnish manufacturer even went as far as introducing its own ‘winter grip label’ that aimed to place labelling criteria within a winter context. This was withdrawn after a short period of time, but now Nokian Tyres has made another label-related winter tyre announcement: Despite the label’s use of criteria that is more compatible with summer tyres, this autumn Nokian will launch a SUV winter tyre that has achieved an ‘AA’ label rating. The tyre maker points out its size 265/50 R19V WR SUV 3 is the first winter tyre in Europe – and by default the world – to achieve this top label rating.
Just over six months since the last time Tyres & Accessories met Michel Rzonzef at the Geneva Motor Show, the Goodyear executive has switched segments. When we met before he was vice president of the Consumer Tire Business at Goodyear EMEA. Now he is vice president of Commercial Tires EMEA. So, with the move from consumer to commercial still relatively fresh, T&A took the opportunity to discuss the development and direction of the truck and fleet tyre business with Rzonzef during the course of the recent Goodyear Fleet Symposium in Brussels on 14 October. Henk van Tuyl, Goodyear’s director of regional technology – Heavy Tires EMEA, also joined in with the conversation.
In this month’s magazine (July 2014), as well as our the conclusion of our comprehensive review of the Essen Show (see page 40 onwards) plus features on manufacturing (from page 24) and batteries (page 8+), we report on the potential “Return of US tyre import tariffs” (on page 30). Reading this article, you could be forgiven for thinking you had stepped into a time warp to 2009 where proceedings followed a very similar course. This time round, the potential implementation of a second round of import US import tariffs aimed squarely at China have fermented rumours about whether anything similar is likely to happen in Europe. So will it?
According to Emissions Analytics, ratings printed on the European tyre label do not tell the “full story”. The Winchester-based company, which specialises in supplying real-world fuel consumption and emissions data based on tailpipe measurements, states that tyres with an F-rating for fuel economy perform as well as B-rated tyres at mid-range speeds.
Toyo Tires has announced that a further 12 fitments of its popular and effective Open Country M/T tyre have gained Professional Off Road (POR) accreditation, allowing them to be listed and sold outside of current EU labelling requirements. The tyre is already hugely popular with many off-road professionals, including multiple Dakar and Baja winner, Robby Gordon. The tyre is also being used this year by the Isuzu UK Works Rally Team, on appropriate events.
Following the news that the government is consulting the market on the full implementation and enforcement of tyre labelling legislation in the UK, the NTDA has shared its views on both the process and its response to the consultation.
According to the NTDA, the government consultation proposal can be summarised like this: “The department has appointed a tyre enforcement authority (the National Measurement Office) which will be responsible for organising a risk-based market surveillance approach and for the application of appropriate enforcement measures that impose the minimum burdens necessary to meet our EU obligations.
The UK government has initiated a market consultation on the subject of tyre labelling. The consultation opened on the 10th April and runs until 11:45pm on the 23rd May. The news comes almost 18 months after tyre labelling came into effect in Europe and almost two years since the market formally started communicated labelling details between the various parts of the business. In response industry bodies such as the NTDA have been quick to urge members and other tyre industry professionals to participate in the open consultation regarding the UK enforcement of the tyre labelling regulations.