In response to recent developments, international tire manufacturer Continental is calling for improvements to inadequate market supervision systems in Europe. The latest winter tire test conducted by German automobile club ADAC and consumer watchdog Stiftung Warentest once again documents very clearly indeed the lack of effective monitoring of compliance with legal requirements by the European Commission and EU member states. When the smaller tires – 165/70 R 14 – were tested, in the wet grip test the best winter tire in the field, the ContiWinterContact TS 850, which has a C classification on the EU tire label, returned a braking distance of 36.2 m from 80 km/h to standstill. The poorest performer, an imported tire from an Asian manufacturer, also sported the C class label, but required a terrifying 49.6 m to come to a halt.
“This extreme example, with a difference of more than 13 meters within a single wet-grip label category is not the first case of its kind in the tire industry,” said Christian Koetz, Head of Passenger and Light Truck Replacement Tires in the EMEA region at Continental, and President of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association ETRMA. “But it is high time these massive infringements incurred commensurate penalties by way of deterrent. Otherwise the European tire industry is put at a substantial disadvantage by European laws, which cannot be in the interests of the legislators.”
Continental is again demanding in the strongest terms that, instead of constantly approving new regulations, both the European Commission and the EU member states finally commit to establishing effective market supervision systems. “There are increasing numbers of regulations in other countries and regions too,” Koetz adds. “There, however, infringements meet with substantial penalties, so that the manufacturers have a constant source of motivation to actually play by the rules.”