Michelin exec: ‘Cold weather tyre market is reactive’

30th October 2012

Switching to winter tyres is something that British drivers often only consider when snow hits the roads, according to Malcolm Scovell, commercial director at Michelin.

Mr Scovell has suggested that this is a mistake and implied that it would be wise for motorists to think about making the switch before the cold weather comes in.

"There has been increasing interest from consumers in cold weather tyres over the past few years but the market here is still very reactive – waiting until there is snow on the ground before rushing out to try and find tyres. Unfortunately, this is in sharp contrast to motorists on the Continent who routinely change their tyres at this time of year", he said.

According to Michelin, drivers should think about using cold weather tyres on their vehicles between October and March when the roads are likely to be more slippery because of difficult weather conditions such as snow, ice and sludge.

No doubt drivers in countries where snow is guaranteed in the winter will be more likely to make use of cold weather tyres as they know they will get the most from their purchase.

The AA suggests that the decision to  invest in winter tyres should be based on several factors.

For instance, those who live in remote areas where the weather is probably going to be worse for a longer period of time may want to consider using them.

Also, the consequences of getting stuck in a remote place are clearly greater than if you lived in a town and could walk to the nearest shop.

"The risk of bad weather, your confidence when driving and how much you have to drive when snow and ice are around", are all important considerations when deciding whether to buy winter tyres, the AA states.

The AA is keen to remind motorists that if they make the choice to switch to winter tyres, they need to ensure that they change all four tyres as "fitting only one pair will affect the balance and stability of the car".

Also, it warns against using winter tyres all year round as they it states that "summer tyres will give better performance when temperatures are higher and roads dry".

Drivers who are concerned about having to invest in two sets of tyres may want to consider purchasing All Season Tyres "which also have a high silica content for low temperature flexibility and a tread pattern somewhere between a normal summer tyre and an out-and-out winter tyre", the AA states.

The compromise, according to the AA, is that they are "unlikely to be as good as the best specialist tyres", although they will be more effective in wintry conditions than a summer tyre would.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, explained that it is important for drivers to be able to rely on their tyres during the rush hour, when the roads are busy.

"Fitting winter tyres is definitely the sensible option when the temperature struggles to creep above seven degrees celsius, as is often the case in the early morning and evening at that time of year", he said.

Get winter tyres fitted at ATS Euromaster

Posted by Danielle Barge