With the introduction of new EU tyre labels, you’ll soon have an easy-to-use guide for choosing a car tyre. Andy Dingley of tyre company Bridgestone thinks work still needs to be done for them to be successful.
Tyres tend to be at the bottom of most of our shopping lists, and are only thought of when we get a flat tyre or are about to put the car through its MOT. Yet, they’re the only contact point between your car and the road. Getting the right tyres for your car and how you use them is vital.
The changes to tyre labelling that we’ll also be making at Bridgestone, are designed to show three key areas of a tyre’s performance: wet grip, exterior noise emission and a tyre’s fuel efficiency. The labels are split into seven colour-coded categories from A to G (best to worst). This means you should be able to spot the best all-round performance in areas that matter most to you.
By presenting the technical aspects of a tyre in this accessible, universal format (similar to the labelling on white goods introduced in the 1990s) you can expect to have a more authoritative and informed approach to choosing from the myriad of tyres on sale. With only three areas to judge a tyre’s all-round performance, the need for strict regulation is all the more important.
How will the new tyre labels be enforced?
There’s been a significant investment of time and money by manufacturers to ensure that tyre labelling becomes part of the production process. However, with the regulations coming into effect this week, it’s still unclear what measures are going to be put in place to ensure they’re properly enforced.
As a tyre manufacturer, we think that these changes must be supported by a body with a clear method of enforcing legislation and issuing penalties in the case of manufacturers that fall short of EU requirements. Otherwise, the success of the changes made so far may hit an obstacle before they’re put into force.
There’s also potential for a lax attitude towards adhering to the new standards. The new labels could be used to make tyres appear of a higher standard than they actually are. That would damage the push for product clarity which lies behind the introduction of tyre labelling. The knock-on result is that the benefits of the changes won’t reach the people they’re intended for – you, the consumer.
To prevent this, we think there needs to be clarity over what system will be put in place to monitor compliance. This will require a comprehensive regulatory system that covers all aspects of the industry supply chain, from production within the factory, to correctly displaying labels in garages. Oh, and there will also need to be an eye on online retailers to ensure the system doesn’t suffer the corner-cutting we’ve seen plague energy efficiency labels on electronics.
Only when we know how these areas will be regulated can we be sure that the new tyre labels will be successful.
Are you glad to see new tyre labels that rate grip and fuel efficiency? Do you want to see them properly enforced?
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Andy Dingley, Communication Manager at tyre company Bridgestone. All opinions expressed here are Andy’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.