The vast majority of consumers who purchase replacement tyres do not know about tyre ratings for efficiency, wet grip and noise, new research suggests.
The survey, from Apollo Vredestein, also reveals that an overwhelming majority of buyers would like to use such information to influence their buying decisions.
Last month saw the introduction of a new EU regulation mandating the use of newly designed tyre labels – similar to those found on energy consuming household appliances – that set out the product’s rankings for performance and efficiency.
The updated labels, which are expected to be adopted into UK law later in 2021, feature a new five-stage classification system (from A to E) for rolling resistance and wet grip, and three classes (A to C) for exterior noise, and there are additional symbols to signify whether the tyre is suitable for snow and / or ice conditions.
The inclusion of a new QR code allows consumers to easily access an independent online database of tyre ratings.
The survey asked UK motorists about the last time they purchased tyres for their car and identified that an average of only 43 per cent were aware of the tyre’s ratings for efficiency and noise.
Awareness of these ratings is even lower among women – just 32 per cent of female car owners said they knew about them before they last made a tyre purchase, compared to 52 per cent of men.
Although tyre retailers are required under UK law to explain the efficiency and performance ratings to customers at point of sale, only 26 per cent of UK car owners said the retailer did so before they last purchased replacement tyres.
Importantly, 69 per cent of UK car owners said that being better aware of the efficiency and noise ratings would influence their choice of replacement tyre in future.
Some 77 per cent of car owners are not aware that the format of the labels is potentially changing, highlighting the significant need to educate consumers about the availability of important efficiency and performance data.
Karl Naylor, UK country manager, from Apollo Vredestein said: “These tyre ratings are clearly valued very highly by car owners, yet awareness remains very low.
“That presents a significant challenge for public authorities and the tyre sector – manufacturers, distributors and retailers alike – to improve education and enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
“Greater awareness will help consumers select tyres that are better suited to their needs and will help highlight those tyres that have the strongest environmental and safety credentials.”
If, as is expected, the new EU regulation is echoed in UK law, all tyres will have to be sold with their efficiency rating and product information sheet displayed close to the tyre in a physical retail environment or made clearly visible online.
The information will also be available on an online database (the European Product Registry for Energy Labelling – or ‘EPREL’).
Alongside tyre retailers, car dealerships have to inform their customers about the specification of the tyres fitted to new cars prior to sale.
The tyre label and product information sheet must also be available in hard-copy for any potential car buyer to take home if they wish.
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