Burton-on-Trent, UK – A survey commissioned in the UK by synthetic rubber maker Lanxess is claimed to show that EU tire labelling legislation, while intended to help consumers make more informed decisions when purchasing tires, has so far failed to have a significant impact either on consumers’ purchasing behaviour or on sales of high-performance tires in the year since it was introduced.
The survey, implemented by the National Tire Distributors Association (NTDA), found “missed opportunities” for both drivers and tire retailers, with customers losing out on the benefits of safer and more fuel-efficient tires and retailers missing the opportunity to sell higher-cost premium tires.
The survey was completed by a cross-section of NTDA members across the UK, including tire retailers Meritire and Kwik-Fit. Respondents were asked about customers’ priorities when buying tires, whether they asked for tire label information, the value customers placed on the label information and on advice given by the tire dealer, and how EU tire labelling could be improved.
93 percent of tire retailers responded that customers never or only occasionally require information on the EU label and only 30 percent know that tires affect fuel consumption.
Despite the EU tire labelling legislation, this apparently reveals a lack of knowledge both about the label and about the potential benefits of choosing higher-performance tires.
Tire price was demonstrated as being the biggest selling point, with 74 percent of survey respondents saying it was “the most important factor” to customers. Despite this, says Lanxess, sales of budget tires have risen and sales of high-performance tires have fallen in the last year, implying that consumers are still largely unaware of the potential cost benefits of choosing high-performance tires. It is claimed that fitting high-performance tires can lead to fuel savings amounting to hundreds of pounds for a family car averaging 20 000 miles per annum.
Richard Edy, director of the NTDA said: “While it is still early days for the tire labelling, and we can expect consumer knowledge to improve over time, the [tire distribution] industry should unite to improve the uptake of high-performance tires by providing as much information to the consumer as possible – whether within the dealership or externally”.