BRUSSELS—Five years of mandatory tire labeling have done little to increase demand for safer and more fuel-efficient tires, according to the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers' Association.
The assessment is based on the findings of a report that looked into the effects of the labeling plan. It found a "steady evolution" of the market but no significant increase in the uptake of higher rated tires. The ETRMA-funded report was issued amid a review by the European Parliament and the Council into European Commission proposals for a "rescaling" of the tire label.
The study, carried out by the Lizeo Group, analyzed 400,000 tire labels in the EU28 between 2012 and 2017.
In 2012-13, the most common tire label for passenger car tires was rated E-C with"E" for rolling resistance and "C" for wet grip. In 2017, this label was still the most common, at around 25 percent of the passenger car tire market.
Less than 0.1 percent of all tires are currently labelled A-A, while more than 98 percent of all tires are still below B-B, the study also found.
The tire label is still a "young tool" and not sufficiently well known by drivers and fleet managers, the report concluded.
The findings show that the market has yet to fully appreciate the value of tires offering the best combinations of rolling resistance and wet-grip performance, Fazilet Cinaralp, secretary general of ETRMA said in a statement.
When reviewing the labeling plan, the main focus should be on "what can be done to increase awareness and market up-take, before changing the grading system adding new and more ambitious classes," Cinaralp said.
The Lizeo Group study also discovered that about 4,000 tires were wrongly labeled, highlighting a need for greater market surveillance.
This, ETRMA said, was in-line with the findings of an EC-funded report, which found that 9 percent of the tire models required the application of enforcement measures.
"The results clearly indicate that any rescaling of the labeling system at this stage would be premature," Cinaralp said. "The criteria for rescaling, which are set in the (EC) 'labeling framework regulation' are not met and there has not been enough change at the top of the scale."