Far from going away the VW emissions scandal rumbles on. To recap, some VW engines were programmed to favourably control their emissions when these engines sensed they were subject to test.
In Europe, the minimum tread depth for normal car tyres is set at 1.6mm. Rules for winter tyres vary.
Nevertheless many of our tyre retailers have long held the belief that minimum tread depth should be increased in the interests of road safety, presumably in the wet when tread is most needed.
I hear that a British tyre dealer is to be prosecuted for complicity in bringing illegal migrants into the UK. Although this is probably an unwelcome ‘first’ for the tyre industry many others have tried and where some have succeeded, many others have failed.
Over the past few years there have and continue to be many attempts to smuggle migrants across our borders and especially across our natural barrier, the English Channel. Many individuals have died in the process through suffocation, hypothermia in refrigerated trucks or from injuries on rail tracks and a myriad of other places but this tyre-related effort was just a little different and really quite ingenious.
‘Bibendum’ – the name given to the iconic tyreman says it all. As human obesity has more and more been frowned upon the poor fellow has increasingly slimmed down by the Michelin PR department. In fact in the last few decades the poor chap has lost half his bulk.
There was a time when weight meant something. Reassurance, safety and quality even.
Now it is a definite no, no.
As I reported recently, there is a move of some major tyre markets here in Europe to protect their routes to market by buying up wholesalers, in military terms a strategy that can best be described as ‘cutting them off at the pass’, effective but hardly original.
News that Double Star, China’s mid-ranking tyre manufacturer on the world scale is to partner with Europe’s relative new boy Zenises in a new European joint-venture.
In what is being portrayed a sign of hope for retreading the European Commission has proposed a change of emphasis in the way it approaches anti-dumping and unfair subsidy rules. The Commission is proposing a new way of assessing dumping on imports from countries where ‘for example’ there is known clear over capacity.
Everywhere, the options of what to do with our waste tyres are diminishing as annual volumes (known as arisings) increase. Right now, freight rates ex Europe are rising and favoured destinations for our waste rubber such as Indian sub-continent and East Asia have only a limited appetite for more. Sadly, the export of tyre waste, often at very low cost has itself undermined preferred market solutions such as granulation and incineration by cement kilns. The un-nerving truth is that adequate new uses for tyre-derived and recyclate are just not coming along as quickly as we would like.
A combination of factors affecting our capacity to deal with all our old tyres is starting to cause concern. Traditional disposal routes like cement kilns have other perhaps more profitable burn options, even if they still have the wherewithal to take tyres while exporting them is also becoming more difficult. This is a picture which is repeating itself across Europe and way beyond.