Labelling of tyres will be good for the consumer

The tyre label, compulsory for all 27 EU member states, will bring added transparency to the European market from November 2012.

The tyre label, compulsory for all 27 EU member states, will bring added transparency to the European market from November 2012.

By this date, at the latest, all tyres sold in the EU must carry a label that specifies rolling resistance, wet braking performance and external tyre/road noise.

Implementation of the new labeling regulations will require tyre manufacturers to operate a self-certification policy, but sanctions for violations and non-compliance are to remain within the remit of national law in the 27 EU member states.

A validation operation will take place in spring 2016 – around 40 months after the EU tyre label comes into force – to critically review whether the labeling targets have been met. The effectiveness of the communication at the point of sale will be a particular focus of the review.

Welcomed move

Paddy Murphy, General Manager of Continental Tyres in Ireland, welcomed the new EU tyre label as it provides consumers with much greater information on the performance of a tyre in terms of safety and fuel consumption before purchase.

“Whilst this is far more information than a motorist might normally see when buying tyres, we still see a need for more information to aid drivers, as the new tyre label only specifies three important tyre properties but fails to highlight a number of other criteria that are just as important, for example resistance to aquaplaning, handling and dry braking distances,” he said.

Of the 20 or so tyre properties that are evaluated as part of a tyre test by independent magazines, only three feature on the new EU label. For this reason, Continental advises motorists that independent tyre tests are still the most important source of information for a proper assessment of a tyre’s quality and performance.

Another critical issue in this regard are the concrete sanctions taken for violations of the regulations and how these might differ from one country to another.

“All EU member states have yet to establish regulations on what measures are to be taken against false tyre markings,” Mr Murphy added. “Unfortunately as long as there is no threat of consequences to act as a deterrent, the door remains open to abuses.”

Classifications displayed

Classifications for all three criteria on the EU tyre label must be displayed on every tyre sold in the EU from November of this year. This applies to all tyres produced from July 1, 2012 onwards. The regulations also stipulate that these values are to be quoted in the technical or promotional literature, on manufacturer’s websites, and price lists as well.

It is essential that the labels are put on any tyres on display, but where tyres are not displayed the dealer must give the values to the customer during the sales process. Label values must also be given on or with the invoice.

As affixing the EU tyre label forms an additional requirement and needs a considerable lead time, many tyres on sale at retail outlets will already bear the new markings in advance of the November deadline. Tyres produced before July 1, 2012 can still be sold without labels.