More than two-thirds of motorists questioned by Continental said they were not aware of the new EU tyre labelling regulation.
The regulation, which came into force from November 1, 2012, sees tyres rated in three areas: fuel efficiency, wet grip and external noise.
Peter Robb, brand manager at Continental tyres, said: “It’s the biggest thing to happen to the industry for quite a while and it seems to be passing a few people by.”
However, he pointed out that people may be unaware because they are not yet in the market for new tyres.
“If you’re only in the market for new tyres every two years it could be a year-and-a-half before you’re exposed to the tyre labelling. I think if we did the test in two years’ time the awareness level would be quite high.”
The survey highlighted that there is a need to educate drivers about the label with 20% of respondents mistakenly thinking one of the categories would tell you how many miles a tyre would last.
A fifth of survey respondents said they found the label confusing with a further quarter suggesting that there isn’t enough detail and there are other things to consider when buying tyres, such as buying from a dealer they trust.
Just over half (52%) said the label would not change their decision-making.
Fleet managers’ response to the label
Feedback from fleet managers about the new regulation has been varied, according to Robb, with some “taking it on board” and others not placing it high on their list.
He added that as yet there has been “no real change in buying patterns”.
Phil Scanlan, sales director at Continental, said: “No one has said ‘we must only have AA tyres specified on our fleets’.”
Robb suggested that while the label is useful, fleet managers must bear in mind that there are a number of other performance criteria which is not measured.
“The label is a good indicator but it’s not the be all and end all,” he said. “Sticking to the OE tyre is going to be the best option.”
Enforcement of the label
Policing is still a big issue, according to Robb, as the Department for Transport has not yet announced how the label will be enforced.
“No decision has been made about enforcement and therefore no penalties exist,” he said. “The British Tyre Manufacturers Association is trying to lobby the Government. As a collective we’re trying to make sure it is brought to life.”
For an explanation of the tyre label and the impact on fleets click here