Data revealed at a roundtable debate in Brussels today (October 15th) has shown that more than two out of three consumers who bought tires in 2013 have been influenced by the EU Tire Label.
According to research carried out by IPSOS MarketQuest across six European markets on behalf of Goodyear Dunlop, 71% of those tire buyers who were already aware of the label utilised its gradings on three performance criteria before making their purchase. Data also showed that over half (54%), of tire dealers across Europe use the label as a useful tool when selling tires.
The EU Tire Label has also an increasing influence on the purchasing decisions of European commercial vehicle fleets. The results of a survey conducted by MV2 Conseil on behalf of Goodyear Dunlop, involving around 500 fleets in France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain, show the importance of labeling, with just over half of the fleets (54%) saying that it influences their tire choice and two thirds (66%) putting fuel efficiency as the most important criterion on the label.
The roundtable debate was hosted by Goodyear Dunlop to bring together key stakeholders and industry experts to discuss the progress of the label, as the legislation approaches its first anniversary. The EU Tire Label, which is mandatory for all tires sold in Europe, grades passenger car tires and truck tires on three factors: rolling resistance, wet grip, and external noise levels. The legislation came into force in November 2012.
Speaking at the event, Goodyear EMEA president Arthur de Bok presented the first significant statistical insights on the label’s influence and highlighted the limits of the Tire Label.
He said: “It is encouraging to see so many consumers and professional tire purchasers using the EU Tire Label as a reference point when purchasing tires. The EU Tire Label, with its information on three criteria, raises awareness of the important role tires play in the vehicle’s performance.
“We are doing extremely well with the Tire Label and have a portfolio of outstanding grades. But whilst the label is a good starting point, there are also many other important factors that tire purchasers should take into consideration. For example, even the best performing winter tires score relatively low on the Tire Label, since they have been optimized to operate effectively at cold temperatures and on snow and ice. By comparison, we as a premium tire manufacturer develop tires analyzing over 50 criteria – not only the three on the Tire Label, ” said de Bok.
Michael Staude, general manager of tires and wheels, for the independent certification company TÜV SÜD Automotive, emphasized the need for effective local enforcement systems across the European Member states. He said: “Long-term, the legislation can only be successful and credible in the eyes of consumers and dealers if all tires sold within, and imported into, the European Union fully comply with the legislation.”
Malcolm Harbour, Member of the European Parliament and chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, who played an integral role in the adoption of the EU Tire Label legislation, reinforced the importance of the label in helping to improve both the safety of drivers and the protection of the environment: “The EU Tire Label was introduced as a big package of safety and environmental measures for passenger and commercial vehicles across Europe. Tires are probably one of the more difficult things for consumers to buy, so they need much clearer and impartial information. You can only give consumers a certain amount of info, you do not want to overload them. Therefore, we focused on clear criteria that enabled consumers to make an informed choice.”
“I am pleased with the legislation’s success so far but from a legislator’s point of view we need more time to fully understand the environmental and safety benefits of the label. The legislation will be assessed again in 2016,” said Harbour.
The Goodyear Dunlop research shows that for passenger car drivers wet grip is the most important rating, with 52% putting that in their top three items for consideration when purchasing new tires. The fuel efficiency that comes with a better rolling resistance figured in 47% of consumer needs, whilst exterior noise was present in 41%.
Also speaking at the roundtable debate were Electrolux vice president for Environmental and European Affairs, Viktor Sundberg, who shared experiences from the labeling scheme in the white goods’ industry, FIA mobility officer Luca Pascotto who stressed the importance of road safety and Goran Zubanovic, who leads Goodyear Dunlop’s European retail chains Premio and Vulco and gave the perspective from tire dealers.
To watch a recording of the debate, visit www.thetirelabel.com.
 The research was carried out by Ipsos MarketQuest in June and July 2013 among 4,200 consumers from UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland, who had bought tires over the past six months.
 The survey was conducted by MV2 Conseil on behalf of Goodyear Dunlop. Around 500 truck fleets from France, Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain were interviewed in June and July 2013.