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Is tyre labelling right for India?

This month I want to talk about China’s decision to introduce a tyre labeling scheme and what implications that might have for India.David-Shaw400

At a meeting in early September, the Chinese industry gave a clear outline of the timetable for the introduction of consumer labels for tyres. As anyone who has followed the debate in Europe and Korea will know, these are labels visible to the purchaser, which grade tyres according to fuel economy, grip and other parameters.

Governments around the world have introduced such labels to drive consumers toward buying more fuel-efficient tyres, and through that consumer demand, to accelerate tire makers’ technological progress in the same area.

I’ve been watching this development with some interest, since it has a bearing on probably the biggest question in the tyre industry today: How quickly will China move to high-tech tyres?

The Chinese government has a couple of objectives. First is to conserve energy resources. China has experienced double-digit economic growth for many years. Over the last few years that has slowed to something like 7 per cent annually. Although the Chinese government claims that 7 per cent rate is being maintained, my contacts in China say that a more realistic figure for 2015 is below 5 per cent.

In my opinion, the actual figure does not really matter. China’s economy is huge, and even 3 per cent growth means a lot of economic development. That growth requires energy and other resources. China knows that continued growth needs to be more sustainable, so every industry –including tyres – is being encouraged to use energy, raw materials and other resources more efficiently.

By David Shaw

Full text in October/November issue

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