BRUSSELS (Nov. 14) — The European tire industry is prepared to challenge a European Union directive that would ban products measured in inches or other imperial measurements after 2010, citing the international acceptance of rim diameters measured in inches.
"It is in no one´s interests to change the standards," said Fazilet Cinaralp, secretary-general of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers´ Association. "The world tire industry is concerned by this provision."
The ETRMA is working hard to ensure that the industry will not have to change molds, dimensions or any other equipment and to ensure that tires made in the EU remain compatible and interchangeable with tires made elsewhere in the world.
Tire and rim diameters are given in inch dimensions that are confirmed in international standards governing the dimensions of tires and wheels around the world.
The issue causing the concern is EU Directive 80/181/EEC, which, as formulated, requires all goods sold in the EU to be measured only in metric dimensions. The directive is due to come into force at year-end 2009. However, it has already been delayed twice, each time by 10 years.
Cinaralp said many industries stand to suffer if the directive is strictly imposed and enforced. She said that different industry representatives, including the tire industry represented by the ETRMA, will meet with the European Commission before year-end to discuss the implications of the directive and to consult on a possible revision.
There are a number of alternative solutions to the problem, Cinaralp said. One is simply to extend the deadline for a further 10 years.
In the end, she said, the industry remains firm in the view that "no one is prepared to reconsider these markings if we are required to do this."
The Tyre Industry Federation in the United Kingdom supports the ETRMA position, saying in a prepared statement: "This is an international standard which would have to be renegotiated globally, and hundreds of thousands of tire manufacturing molds in existence around the world would have to be changed."
"At the very least," said John Dorken, head of the federation, "such a move would cause disruption to global trade in tires, which is the norm in the industry, lead to other practical problems, impose substantial costs and sow confusion in the minds of motorists."