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Civilized? Not With a 98% Used Tire Reg Failure Rate

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part worn tires-rsI find it quite interesting that the U.K., one of the most civilized, freedom-loving first-world countries on the globe, has an actual law governing the sale of what they call ‘part worn tires.’

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It is not illegal to sell them to consumers there, mind you, but there are specific regulations under the Consumer Protection Act’s Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 that a seller must follow, lest they catch the eye of enforcers.

To whit, under the regulation, it is “an offence for anyone to sell part worn tyres that do not meet the following principal requirements:

  1. The structural integrity must not be compromised. It should be free of large cuts, any bulges or lumps both internally and externally. No plies or cords should be exposed.
  2. Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.
  3. The original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must be to a depth of at least 2mm across the full breadth of the tread, around its entire circumference.
  4. Part worn tyres which have not been retreaded must clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.
  5. Part-worn tyres that have been retreaded must have one of the following:
    • BS AU 144b, 144c, 144d, or 144e markings on the side wall (if first supplied as a retread on or before 31 December 2003 an ECE approval mark (if first supplied as a retread on or after January 1, 2004)
    • A permanent mark to identify the original model and manufacturer, the word ‘RETREAD’ moulded onto or into its sidewall (in upper case letters at least 4mm high) and further markings in accordance with ECE rules. You may need to seek further advice as to which rules apply
    • The indication ‘PART WORN’ must also appear next to the BS or ECE approval mark, or next to the word ‘RETREAD’
    • For tyres marked BS AU 144e, a speed category symbol and load capacity marking should be present.
    • A tyre has to comply with all these requirements whether or not it is fitted to a rim.”

I included all of that info not to bore you, but to illustrate that it’s not impossible to come up with a plan that satisfies the best interests of consumers, tiremakers and tire sellers.

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Still, illegally sold part worn tires are a major sore spot for the U.K. industry. A recent investigation by tiremaker-supported safety organization TyreSafe found that 98% of all part-worn tires being sold were, in fact, illegal.

Later this month, TyreSafe will participate in the national Trading Standards conference, the largest “gathering of trading standards officers and enforcement professionals in the U.K.”

“Last year’s conference was incredibly successful for TyreSafe and we are delighted to announce our return in 2014,” comments Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “As a direct result of our participation in 2013, many Trading Standards offices around the U.K. carried out local investigations which have resulted in numerous education initiatives and even prosecutions and arrests of unscrupulous sellers. We look forward to developing this dialogue even further this year.”

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Still … 98% is a major fail.

TyreSafe, with an impressive 75 members – tiremakers and marketers, distributors, retailers, automakers, tire service product makers and insurance companies – and has been running a country-wide campaign to create compliance. But two of the chief barriers have been a shattered U.K. economy and a regulatory culture given to turning a blind eye.

Which is too bad, because their regulatory approach can work to everyone’s best interest. We’ll see what comes from the Trading Standards meeting.

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Car dealer tire supplier Dealer Tire has partnered with software firm Xtime Inc. to create a new tablet-based service lane program. “The arrangement makes Dealer Tire’s digital-selling solution and inventory information accessible through Xtime’s Check-In 7 tablet-based service lane solution. In turn, Dealer Tire’s eServices tire catalogs have been integrated into Check-In 7 via a tire-selling interface designed specifically to blend seamlessly with Xtime’s software.”

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Depending on Xtime’s market penetration, Dealer Tire has found another way to become a bigger replacement tire competitor.

“According to the companies, service advisers can now present customers with vehicle-specific, comprehensive tire recommendations and pricing, check inventory for availability and enable an immediate purchase without having to leave customers and return to their desks to retrieve tire information, the news release stated.

Can you do that?

Adding insult to insult, “Dealers retain the customer’s business at the point where consumers often first take their vehicles to the aftermarket,” the firms said, “while consumers get a transparent, convenient method for maintaining their vehicles.”

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Xtime claims that it “processes more than two million appointments each month and originates more than 10% of dealer repair orders in North America, and is either an exclusive or preferred vendor to Audi, BMW, Mini, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Infiniti, Lexus, Nissan, VW and Volvo.

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NHTSA recently released a new study that shows the economic toll and societal impact of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. In dollar terms, NHTSA placed the price tag at $871 billion.

According to the Department of Transportation, this astonishing figure includes $277 billion in direct economic costs – nearly $900 for each person living in the U.S. based on calendar year 2010 data – and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.

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That’s right, 2010 data. This “new” study comes from crash data collected in 2010.

This timely report noted that for the year there were 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles.

The top contributors to accidents and/or injuries were drunk driving at 18% of the total economic loss due to motor vehicle crashes, speeding at 21%, distracted drivers at 17%, pedestrians/bicycles at 7%, seatbelt use at 5%.

“We want Americans to live long and productive lives, but vehicle crashes all too often make that impossible,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “This new report underscores the importance of our safety mission and why our efforts and those of our partners to tackle these important behavioral issues and make vehicles safer are essential to our quality of life and our economy.”

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Strange words given that NHTSA chose to keep quiet over GM ignition failures. But they were probably really busy trying to pull this report together.

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