The Inmetro label is similar to the European model, with graduations from A to G (Photo: Christian Brown)
Just over a year ago, tire labeling was effectively noticed by Brazilian consumers. The first Inmetro seal models hit the market between 2015 and 2016, but it was not until April 2018 that labels became mandatory for all new radial passenger tires and for commercial or imported vehicles.
And that has been changing the way we consume them. If previously there was little (or no) technical information, now there are three notes that show wet performance, fuel consumption and noise.
“I joke that the tire label is blessed. All other products have only one requirement, ours has three indicators! ”, Has fun Eduardo Roveri, Continental's certification manager. To the executive, the program is young and may seem confusing at first glance, but it set a minimum performance and brought transparency. “In the past, it was the user experience or a recommendation,” he recalls.
The only fact that the label does not inform is the tire's validity (Photo: Christian Brown)
In practice, the Inmetro label is a replica of the European model. The seal contains grades from A to G, the first being the best performance. Based on these notes, the consumer can decide which criteria to prioritize – whether they want a fuel-saving tire (lower rolling resistance) or better wet grip.
“Today it is possible to do the analysis at the time of purchase. The tires are very similar in appearance, and the consumer could not distinguish the models, ”says Fernando Pexe, Good Year's passenger tire marketing leader. However, even with the three indicators there are still cases that generate doubts. Why, for example, can a tire considered “expensive” have low grades in consumption and noise?
“These tires typically have sporting dimensions, favor braking, stability, and have no focus on rolling and noise. Depending on the measure, physics makes it easier or harder to achieve a result, ”explains John Scalabrin, Continental's commercial product development supervisor.
According to the executive, a mixed-use (all-terrain) tire will perform poorly on noise, as the toothed groove design seeks to give greater traction on uneven ground, but is noisy over smooth asphalt. Scalabrin also says that it is necessary to consider the product lines. In Continental's case, the tires “will always have a better grade and will be more expensive than General Tires models,” the company's entry mark.
The index is calculated based on the wear presented in a test consisting of rotating 15,500 km (9,600 miles) at constant speed and on the same floor (Photo: Wildmen Pirelli)
For Sergio Kina, technical manager of the Automotive Quality Institute (IQA), which works alongside Inmetro in the certification of labels, the price issue is natural to the market. “Companies compete with each other and cost is a factor of attraction. But it is important to remember that there is no miracle. If you have a 'grade A' tire and one with the same grade that costs a third of the value, you need to be aware of piracy, ”he says. “That's why it's essential to have the label,” he adds.
The Brazilian seal just doesn't show how long each tire lasts. Inmetro did not adopt the Treadwear indicator. The index is a benchmark created in the United States for durability, but it does not represent exactly how much a model is capable of running, as service life depends on several factors.
This index is calculated based on the wear presented in a test consisting of running 15,500 km (9,600 miles) at constant speed and on the same floor. But while it should be Treadwear, the industry believes the market has matured with labeling. “The regulation has set minimum performance limits for each of the three criteria and only allows entry of products that meet these limits,” says Klaus Curt Müller, executive chairman of the National Tire Industry Association (Anip).
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