The European Tyre Label gets a makeover

International

It is now seven years since the latest changes in the European Tyre Label Legislation came into effect. However in December the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union decided to confirm the next stage of the label’s progressive development which will be introduced on the 1st May 2021. At the same time the conditions of the Labelling agreement requires a further review of the regulations by June 2025.

So this tyre labelling scenario continues to gather momentum over here gaining new conditions with every review. I have looked into this latest development which effectively reduces the tyre label grades to just A, B, C.D and E categories and eliminated the current lower grades F and G.

However on closer inspection it is interesting to note that the revised E category on this latest phase is the same as the previous F category and the D rating equates to a zero grade boundary on the current passenger car label. This change is in my opinion just a re-distribution of the previous grades.

The latest rules of this new advanced tyre label rating also include reinforced market surveillance and penalties that are designed to improve compliance and stronger enforcement of a tyre registration database held in Brussels. Belgium. I have also heard that there is a future possibility that a new tax/incentives introduced to buy A rated tyres.

There will also be an obligation (not legal) to report label information to national authorities in order to create improved product and tyre market visibility to customers.

The design of the European Tyre Label is also going to change with the new version being re-modelled along the lines of the current European Energy Label. At the top of the label there will be an additional and distinctive built-in QR code plus the rolling resistance/fuel consumption and wet grip performance will remain the main part of the label but with redesigned icons.

Also the pass-by noise section of the label has been redesigned in order to represent the sound level with a letter rating but the decibel value remains the same. At the same time the Ice Grip Identifier area has also undergone a design change. Finally a brand new graphic logo has been added to depict a forthcoming Abrasion test.

As we start a new year it will be interesting to see how the tire market players throughout Europe react to the changes which in my opinion can only further enhance the safety level of new tyres for the future. When the news broke it confirmed the plans for a new label design in mid December but with the build up to Christmas and the New Year celebrations it was early January when the changes were openly debated. I have spoken to a number of people in the industry including manufacturers, distributors and retail centres and everyone agrees that all the design changes are justified and the new rating scores have been well received.

Looking at this new development from a manufacturing point of view, I believe it puts even more pressure on the leading brands to make their tyres increasingly efficient with ultimate safety levels and it is going to be interesting to see who comes out on top. Whilst tyre distributors could start to look very carefully at which tyres they want to distribute and retail centres  will be armed with even more safety information when trying to sell a particular brand,

Which just leaves the motorist and quite honestly I do believe that the label makes absolutely no difference when they have to replace a tyre. There is still this misguided stigma of paying as little as possible when buying a new tyre especially for drivers of older cars who seem to resent having to spend money for tyres.

However I have noticed a more encouraging attitude from owners of brand new vehicles who want their shiny new car to look attractive and sporty so they are more likely to invest in a more expensive major brand with as many safety aspects as possible.

At the end of the day it is just a label and I wonder sometimes just how much influence it has on tyre sales.

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