Bloomberg reports the European Union is set to require tire manufacturers to include new labels detailing everything from the rubber's wet-traction performance to fuel efficiency and noise levels. Each tire will receive a rating on an A-to-G scale for wet traction and fuel efficiency, wherein A is the highest score possible. Information on the tire's noise level, meanwhile, will be conveyed in decibels.

So, why the big push for more sidewall information? Tire manufacturers in the EU are being hit on two sides; economic woes hurting the bottom line, while inexpensive Chinese tires lure buyers away from more common brands. Last year saw Chinese, Korean and other non-European brand market share jump to 23 percent, a new record.

Manufacturers like Pirelli and Michelin are looking for ways to indicate how their products are superior, and the new labels may do just that. But the labels may have another unintended effect by stepping up competition in a big way. All tire manufacturers will be forced to justify their price tags as consumers begin to more easily compare and contrast their options.

Meanwhile, US regulators are set to issue a new rule in 2013, requiring all tires to carry ratings for fuel efficiency, wet traction and treadwear. Don't expect the EU and US systems to dovetail, however.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I heard on the radio (so it must be true!) That one of the biggest determinants in road noise is road itself.
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Their economies are circling the drain, and *this* is a priority?
        Jim
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Modern government structures can actually do more than one thing at a time. Its not the same people that deal with the auto industry regulation and the economy. This decision is just from one tiny part of the EU organisation. I suppose I should start complaining about lack of jobs in the U.S when the NHTSA changes criteria for vehicle safety.
        rllama
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Did you miss the point where this helps european tire makers, by giving consumers some information that might make them choose a european tire over an import?
        sparrk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Spain , Italy and Greece are doing bad, there are 50 countries in Europe.
          mbukukanyau
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sparrk
          Well, You think there is an economy in Europe thats doing well? Enlighten us Spork
          Pdexter
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sparrk
          Scandinavia is growing. And the problems in North Europe in general are nothing. People are keeping up with their normal lifes.
        Pdexter
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Europe has over 739 million people and EU itself is world largest economy. What do you expect, nothing is happening and every single people is worrying about economy. Most people, especially in North Europe today is just a normal day.
      Tweaker
      • 2 Years Ago
      While they are so concerned about the environment, they ignore treadwear. Tire making is an energy intensive business. Fail. Of course, that would upset the expensive German sedan business.
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can sort of understand this, but noise, really?
        ack154
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carguy1701
        A lot of high performance summer tires can be a bit noisy (BFG KDWs anyone?). Depends a lot on the tread pattern. It's something that's nice to know depending on your requirements.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carguy1701
        Yes. Some cars are very sensitive to road noise. The old Mazda Protege for example- it howled mercilessly with certain tires.
        Agilis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carguy1701
        Noise makes sense. Especially with trucks where the sound from the tires are so loud you cannot hold a conversation. I personally have never experienced this, but I know people who have.
      SpikedLemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm in favor. Especially if those labels will carry over this side of the Atlantic. I'd also love to see someone work on a treadwear rating for winter tires.
      ack154
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is what I use Tire Rack ratings for... at least as a starting point. But my question really is who is doing the rating? Is that being left up to the manufacturer or are there going to be some set tests from EU?..... wait, nevermind. From TFA: "There’s also a risk that label ratings, which are generated by the companies themselves based on standardized tests, get fudged." Yes, that.
      Ae Neuman
      • 2 Years Ago
      waste of time and money, few people as is read let alone understand the info stamped on sidewalls. what next ? sidewall advertising ?
      Dart
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be nice if there were standard to adhere to. Currently the treadwear rating means almost nothing, as it is only relative to THAT manufacturers overall product line. A treadwear of 400 from one manufacturer might be equal 300 from another. Same with traction and temperature ratings.
      Rich
      • 2 Years Ago
      Because of ALL the things the tires are there to do, NHV are the leading cause of what? Make a mandate on tire pressure, get an alignment, and your tires wont cup.
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