WINNIPEG, Manitoba—More than 28,000 drivers in Manitoba were able to afford new snow tires this past winter because of Manitoba Public Insurance's winter tire low-interest financing program, according to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.
Launched in the fall of 2014, the program provides loans of up to 48 months, at prime plus 2 percent, of up to $2,000 per vehicle registered in Manitoba, the MPI said.
The government of Manitoba first announced plans for the loan program in the spring of 2014 and appointed the MPI to administer it, TRAC said in its February e-Newsletter.
Thanks to the loan program, Manitoba drivers purchased more than 112,000 winter tires in the past few months, TRAC said. TRAC's winter tire shipment data show a 71 percent increase in passenger and light truck winter tire shipments to Manitoba in 2014 compared with the previous two years, the association said.
While many private insurers offer breaks to drivers who buy winter tires, MPI's program makes winter tire purchases even more attainable for Manitoba drivers, according to TRAC.
“This initiative clearly demonstrates the province's commitment to reducing the number of personal injuries and accidents caused by now using winter tires,” said TRAC President Glenn Maidment.
A survey TRAC commissioned last December showed that only slightly more than half of Canadian drivers outside of Quebec—where winter tire use is mandated—use winter tires. In Manitoba, according to that survey, the winter tire usage rate was 39 percent.