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China moves toward uniform tire labelling

With the EU introducing plans in 2012 to inform consumers about a tire’s noise, wet-braking and rolling resistance performance, and Japanese, South Korean and US variants following shortly after, China, the world’s largest tire market is close to releasing its own labelling system. The question is which system? Two versions of labels were seen at the recent Tire+ exhibition in Shanghai, and there may be others.

While China has decided to gradually introduce uniform tire labelling, in practice this means the implementation of a voluntary labelling system in 2017, with some sources reporting that it will become mandatory in 2018. While the government might want labels on tires by the end of 2018, a definitive label has not yet been chosen.

As with all international tire labelling systems, Chinese labels must overcome obstacles in terms of legal definition and testing regime. The China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA) sponsored label, by validating definitions and standards that already exist, is the most direct approach. If a product qualifies for a European tire label, this data can then be used on the Chinese tire label. Since the CRIA is the domestic industry’s largest and most influential association and is quasi-governmental, it is most likely to set the new standard.

While the layout and criteria for the Chinese label resembles the European label with the addition of the CRIA logo, the Chinese label adds a QR code. This allows consumers to access further information using their smartphones, and can be updated in real-time, especially helpful for recalls and other related road safety issues.

A second version of the Chinese tire label is from China Great Tire Rating Assessment (CGTRA) and also features a QR code. The CGTRA design also features treadwear as a fourth category graphically displayed on the label.

So which label will win?

The costs associated with Chinese labelling depend very much on which option you go for. If the label variant requires its own testing, this is clearly a far more expensive option. However, the CRIA system – which is based on validating existing tire label test data – will inevitably be more much affordable. Add in the fact that this association-based system has integrated links to industry and it seems likely that that this label will prevail ahead of its one or two competitors.

Sourced article found here.

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