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EU tyre-labelling system to put pressure on costs

Under the new regulations, all tyres sold from the start of November 2012 will have to carry eco labels similar to those for domestic appliances. All new tyres produced from 1 July will have to carry the stickers. However, tyres are not allowed to be labelled before 1 June to create a level playing field for the manufacturers.

The labels will show buyers three areas of performance: fuel efficiency, on-road noise levels and wet braking.

The regulations also state that before buying any new tyre the customer must be informed of the tyre’s scores or shown the label. In theory, this means that before a customer buys a new car they must be made aware of the eco rating of its tyres. However, because manufacturers can use several different types of tyre as original equipment, and as it’s near impossible to know what sort of tyres a car will arrive on when placing an order, it makes informing the customer very difficult.

As if that wasn’t enough, the UK has yet to decide which authority will enforce the new EU rules or what the penalties will be if a business is in contravention of the regulations. Tyre makers believe that the most likely authorities to take charge of enforcement will be either Trading Standards or VCA.

The BVRLA warned that the industry should be wary of tyre makers pushing up the prices of tyres just because they have a good eco rating, in the same way that some vehicles have higher list prices today because they are eco models.

John Lewis, BVRLA boss, said: “If this new tyre labelling results in manufacturers applying the same kind of ‘eco premium’ price being applied that we have seen with some cars and automotive supplies, we may see a bit of a backlash.”

Kwik-Fit said it would expand its pricing file to include the new information so that fleets and leasing firms were aware of the new labels ahead of purchase.

Commenting on the likelihood of the labels pushing buyers into better tyres, Kwik-Fit Fleet boss Peter Lambert said: “Given the effect the eco labels had on the white goods market, it is likely to have an influence on tyres, but maybe this will have more influence in the retail market.

“The labels will make the tyre buying process more objective. What may put the cat among the pigeons is if an unknown brand of tyre with a lower cost than a premium tyre has a score that’s as good as a premium tyre.”


Courtesy of 'Business Car'.

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