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New report reveals missed opportunities of EU tyre labelling

A new report shows that EU tyre labelling legislation whilst intended to help consumers make more informed decisions when purchasing tyres, so far has failed to have a significant impact on consumers’ purchasing behaviour or on sales of high-performance tyres in the year since it was introduced.

The report compiled by the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) and LANXESS, the manufacturers of high-tech rubber for tyres found that the introduction of the EU tyre labelling has been a missed opportunity for both drivers and tyre retailers with customers missing out on the benefits of safer and more fuel-efficient tyres and retailers missing out on the opportunity to sell higher cost premium tyres that still benefit their customers.

The report is based on a survey that was conducted by the NTDA and completed by a cross section of its members across the UK including tyre retailers Merityre and Kwik-Fit. The survey asked respondents about customer’s priorities when buying tyres, whether or not they asked for the tyre label information, the value customers placed on the label information and on advice given by the tyre dealer, and how EU tyre labelling could be improved.

It found that 93% of tyre retailers responding that customers never or only occasionally require information on the EU label and only 30% know that tyres affect fuel consumption.

This shows, that despite the EU tyre labelling legislation, there is still a lack of knowledge both about the label and about the potential benefits of choosing higher performance tyres.

Price was demonstrated as being the biggest selling point with 74% of survey respondents saying it was ‘the most important factor’ to customers. Despite this sales of budget tyres have risen and sales of high-performance tyres have fallen in the last year implying that consumers are still largely unaware of the potential cost benefits of choosing high-performance tyres. High-performance tyres can lead to fuel savings amounting to hundreds of pounds for a family car averaging 20,000 miles in a year.

Richard Edy, director of the NTDA said: “The results of this survey show that tyre labelling has been a badly missed opportunity both for our members, who could increase sales of premium tyres, but also for the customers who could benefit from the fuel efficiency and safety advantages of these tyres. This is also having an impact on the environment and safety on our roads. Whilst it is still early days for the tyre labelling, and we can expect consumer knowledge to improve over time, the industry should work together to improve the uptake of high-performance tyres by providing as much information to the consumer as possible - whether within the dealership or externally”.

EU tyre labelling legislation was introduced on 1st November 2012 to help consumers make more informed decisions when choosing tyres. The labelling, categorises tyres on three different criteria:  fuel efficiency (or ‘rolling resistance’), wet grip and external noise. A similar labelling system for “white goods”, introduced in 1995, has made great improvements to the sales of more energy efficient products.

To see the report in full, visit www.ntda.co.uk

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