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Under pressure from tyre manufacturers

Part worn tyres
Part worn tyres - the pressure's on and we must be able to demonstrate that our produducts are safe.
The manufacturers of new tyres, particularly ‘premium’ brands, continue to campaign heavily against the sale of part worn tyres (PWTs). We feel that this is a very important issue for vehicle recyclers as PWTs represent a significant revenue source.

But PWTs also help to save motorists a lot of money, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet in the current economic climate. And let’s face it, many of our tyres are from ELVs. The last owner may have fitted new tyres just a few months prior to an MOT failure and there really is no justification to prevent the sales of these tyres. Training, we agree is essential to make sure tyres are up to standard, but that’s the operator not the product.

The tyre manufacturers are lobbying against PWTs on the grounds of safety, but the facts and figures paint a slightly different picture. The real problem appears to be that the ‘premium’ tyre manufacturers are seeing their market share eroded, as a result of competition from ‘budget’ brands. It’s difficult for them to lobby against fair competition, so we get the feeling that they choose the ‘soft’ target. The trouble is that for most customers a tyre is a distress purchase, and that faced with a choice of a new premium tyre at £150 and a budget at £50, the choice for many people is a ‘no-brainer’. Add in the option of good PWTs at perhaps 50% the cost of budget tyres, and customers are being given a real choice.

There is already legislation in place that governs the sale of PWTs, but the problem is that it’s regulated by Local Government Authorities. So basically it’s not enforced in any meaningful way (just like the Scrap Metal Dealers Act and the Motor Salvage Operator Registration). The upshot of this is that there are a lot of ‘dodgy dealers’ out there. Outlets like e-bay have made tyre sales much easier and more visible. Sadly, the evidence suggests that many PWTs are pretty poor quality. Actually, many PWTs originate from ‘out the back door’ of tyre dealers in this country, something the tyre industry acknowledges but does not like to openly discuss! Let’s face it, tyres are ‘safety critical items’. Clearly something needs to be done to improve the standards of PWT sales and to give consumers confidence in suppliers and the products.

The MVDA (the Trade Association for our industry) organised a PWT training course for members many years ago. This has just been updated and is now IMI accredited. This is a comprehensive course which covers everything you need to know about selling PWTs. Upon completion trainees receive a certificate that should help show customers (and your local Trading Standards) that you are a responsible business and you know how to tell a good tyre from a bad one. The training can take place at your site and only costs £550+VAT for up to 6 attendees, plus £40 per person for the test paper. If you are an MVDA member then discounts are available. Whether you are a member or not, contact the MVDA office for further details on 01543 254254 or send them an email.

We think it’s really important for all professional vehicle recyclers that want to continue selling good quality part worn tyres to get behind this MVDA initiative, and help protect this important revenue stream. After all, the alternative could be a total ban.

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