Continental AG welcomes the current initiative of the EU Commission to provide motorists with standardized information about tire characteristics for the criteria of braking performance, rolling resistance and rolling noise. At the same time, leading European manufacturers of car tires are concerned about inadequate implementation to the disadvantage of the consumer.
"As the leading European manufacturer, we welcome the initiative of the European Commission to provide motorists with standardised information on tire characteristics. However, we would explicitly point out the problem areas to be expected during the implementation in the twenty-seven countries of the EU. In particular, this includes the question of sanction mechanisms which can be used to move all manufacturers – as well as importers of low-price Asian tires – toward diligent implementation. However, the proposal to put the label directly on our products is also too short-sighted because most tire buyers do not see their tires until they are already mounted on the vehicle," according to the Executive Board vice chairman of Continental AG, Dr Alan Hippe, who heads the Rubber Group where he is responsible for the Passenger and Light Truck Tire division.
A study of the Fraunhofer Institute on the implementation of the Fuel Consumption Labeling for Cars in Germany in 2001 showed that self-certification measures are often abused due to a lack of inspection mechanisms and sanctions. More than 50% of the electric appliances checked in 320 German stores were incorrectly labeled or not labeled at all. "That simply may not happen with passenger tires, considering how important they are for safety," stressed Dr. Hippe.
The EU Commission recently presented the directive for the combined tire label which is planned starting in 2012. The label comprises concrete specifications on the basis of seven classes (A – G) for rolling resistance (in kg per 1,000 kg wheel load) and for braking per¬formance as well as details about the noise level generated by the tire when rolling (in dB (A)).
The EU Commission reserves the right to expand the European tire label at a later date to include the further criteria such as aquaplaning safety and cornering performance.
“To ensure that end consumers can also comprehend and evaluate this new technical infor¬mation, the EU Commission should conduct a consumer survey before compulsory introduc¬tion," stated the CDU EU delegate Andreas Schwab, the European Parliament correspondent for the new European Community directive "Type approval of motor vehicles with regard to their general safety".