Tom Dennigan, Continental Tyres. (Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke)

— (but not many people know about it) …

The EU introduced a tyre label in 2012 that was aimed at providing consumers across Europe with key performance information at the point of sale when they were faced with choosing a new tyre for their vehicle.

On May 1 this year, the EU introduced a new and improved version of the tyre label, simplifying the way the performance detail is featured on the label and showing some additional attributes of the tyre.

The trouble is, in Ireland at least, not a lot of people know about the existence of the EU tyre label. German premium tyre manufacturer, Continental Tyres, carried out a survey of Irish motorists in the weeks since the introduction of the new EU tyre label and more than two thirds of respondents say they have never heard of the tyre label.

According to Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland: “We welcome the recent introduction of the new and improved EU tyre label as any move towards providing motorists with more information on tyres is a very positive step.

“But, the EU, national governments, road safety bodies and indeed, the tyre industry itself, all need to do a better job in informing consumers. Some tyre retailers are very good at providing consumers with all of the detail they need when making a tyre purchasing choice, including showing the EU tyre label for the tyres that are available.

“But it is clear that many tyre retailers are not fulfilling their responsibility in this regard as we have seen that more than two thirds of Irish motorists are unaware of the EU tyre label. After all, it was introduced back in 2012, so the vast majority of motorists will have faced the need to purchase a new tyre in that timeframe.”

The Continental Tyres survey also showed that price was the number one factor in determining what tyre consumers opt for when buying a new tyre. 62% of motorists identified price as the main reason for choosing one tyre over another with men showing themselves to be more penny-pinching that women: 66% of males vs 58% of female respondents.

However, significant numbers of respondents have shown that safety is high up in their list of priorities as the second and third top reasons for choosing a tyre were ‘all weather performance’ (42%) and ‘grip on wet roads’ (33%).

In recent years, tyre manufacturers have responded to customer demand for ‘all weather performance’ by providing tyres that are specially adapted to providing the best performance across varied weather situations.

These ‘all-season’ tyres – such as Continental’s award-winning AllSeasonContact – are ideally suited to the changeable weather that we experience in Ireland.

Interestingly, ‘fuel efficiency’ was cited by 25% of motorists as among their top three factors in choosing a tyre, with men again showing themselves to be the more frugal: 32% of men versus 19% of women.

The new EU tyre label includes detail on fuel efficiency, wet braking and noise performance for all tyres on sale across the EU. Where applicable, there is also information as to capability on snow and ice.

Newly introduced as of May 1 this year, the label includes a QR code which gives the consumer access to an EU database that gives more detail on an individual tyre. The database which is fully accessible to consumers has details on all tyres on sale in the EU as all manufacturers are required by law to list their products there once they are on sale within the EU.

Dennigan concluded: “Our advice to consumers is to take good note of the detail on the EU tyre label the next time they are buying a tyre and if the tyre retailer does not automatically show them a tyre label, remind them of their responsibility in this regard’.