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ATS Euromaster Launches Cold Weather Tyre Offer for Winter 2010

20 Apr 2010 15:59

ATS Euromaster is launching a dedicated cold weather tyre offering for car and light commercial fleets up to 7.5 tonnes, following demand from customers for increased mobility and safety after one of the coldest winters on record in the UK.

This will build on a wealth of expertise within the Euromaster Group which already supplies, fits and stores cold weather tyres for fleets across northern Europe.  This includes over 300,000 cold weather tyres in Holland every year – a country which enjoys a similar climate to the UK and was one of the last major European countries to adopt such a policy ten years ago.

Steve Bury, Head of National Car at ATS Euromaster, says: “We had our first proper taste of cold weather tyres in the UK this January, when a major home delivery fleet took the decision to switch its tyre policy overnight.  Within a two week period, using a combination of our massive mobile resource and 380 fast-fit centres, we’d converted an entire fleet of 600 vehicles.  This ensured our customer could continue its deliveries without any weather-related interruptions, whilst enhancing the overall safety of its vehicles.”

The direct benefits of cold weather tyres start as soon as the temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius, when the performance of regular ‘summer’ tyres deteriorates.  As a result of the cold, the rubber becomes harder and less ‘elastic’. This means that the tyres suffer from reduced grip and braking ability, and offer a less comfortable ride.

Cold weather tyres help to alleviate this as the larger percentage of silica in their rubber compound prevents the tyre from hardening in the same way as synthetic rubber can in regular tyres.  This enables them to maintain better traction on dry roads throughout the cold weather, as well as when driving in the wet and on snow, slush and ice.

Commenting on expected take-up in the UK, Bury explains: “Early adopters are likely to be ‘blue light’ and utilities fleets, plus those companies whose business relies on ensuring mobility – such as home delivery operations.  We’ve already carried out extensive tests with one emergency services provider, in conjunction with Michelin, and have been approached by a number of leasing companies and major fleets about formally introducing cold weather tyres this October.

“The critical factor is securing supply.  Demand is high from mainland Europe and whilst it might only be spring, fleets need to be making formal plans within the next couple of months,” he adds.

ATS Euromaster’s offer will include the fitment of cold weather tyres during October and early November, with summer tyres individually labeled and stored ready for re-fitting the following March and April.  The worn cold weather tyres will then replace the summer tyres in storage, ready for the following winter.

Cold weather tyres are already offered by the Euromaster Group across most northern European countries, and are a mandatory fitment during winter months in Austria, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.  Their fitment is also common practice in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.  In Germany cold weather tyres must be used if driving on ice or snow – with fines for not doing so.

In the Netherlands, a study by ING Car Lease found that whilst cold weather tyres were initially desirable extras, they are now considered an essential safety feature intended for trouble-free driving during the colder months.  It claims more than 50 per cent of its leasing contracts in the Netherlands include cold weather tyres, rising to 60 per cent for drivers covering more than 40,000 km a year.  Its research also found that across 12 months users of cold weather tyres recorded 1.9 per cent less accidents resulting in 10.2 per cent lower claimed damages.

Cold weather tyres are available for most models of car, van and light commercial, forming an intermediary option between summer tyres and studded snow tyres.

Figure 1: Trial data showing the average braking distances for a vehicle fitted with regular summer and cold weather tyres.

Dry road (speed 100 km per hour)

20 ˚C

Cold weather tyres

46 m

Summer tyres

41 m

7 ˚C

replacement limit

5 ˚C

Cold weather tyres

39.5 m

Summer tyres

41.5 m

Wet road (speed 90 km per hour) 

20 ˚C

Cold weather tyres

67 m

Summer tyres

65.3 m

7 ˚C

replacement limit

5 ˚C

Cold weather tyres

65.8 m

Summer tyres

70.5 m

 

Ice formation (speed 30 km per hour)

Cold weather tyres

57 m

Summer tyres

68 m

Snow (speed 50 km per hour) 

Cold weather tyres

35 m

Summer tyres

43 m


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