Fuel efficiency, safety and noise are the three areas where the battle for tyre supremacy is fought. New products jostle to highlight ever improving fuel consumption and shorter stopping distances – both of interest to fleets.
However, clear lines have recently been drawn over the issue of minimum tread depth with major disagreements between three of the dominant brands in the UK market, Continental, Michelin and Goodyear Dunlop.
Continental Tyre, an original equipment supplier to more than 30% of all new European cars, is campaigning for a new minimum limit of 3mm – currently 1.6mm in the UK – which it claims would result in a significant cut in traffic accidents.
But its bid to change the law is being challenged by rivals Michelin and Goodyear Dunlop.
"We are not in favour for two reasons. The first relates to environmental and cost reasons – if everyone had to change their tyres at 3mm, we would have to manufacture more tyres and dispose of more tyres,’ says Michelin spokesman Peter Snelling.
"Our second reason is that there is nothing to say that moving to 3mm from 1.6mm has any impact on safety. There is absolutely no data to show more accidents occur as a result of people having tyres at the current minimum tread depth."