Auto Service World
News   December 7, 2005   by Auto Service World

Counterfeiting: Where the Rubber Hits the Road


Michelin, the world’s largest tire maker, is urging the European Commission to take action against a flood of counterfeit truck tires, which it warned could threaten road safety.
According to the Financial Times, the company’s joint chief executives have written to Peter Mandelson, EU trade commissioner, and Gunter Verheugen, commissioner for enterprise and industry, requesting a meeting as soon as possible to deal with the arrival of fake truck tires, largely from Asia.
The group has also sent letters to 5,000 tire distributors throughout Europe warning it will take legal action if it finds counterfeit tires being sold under the Michelin brand.
Michelin says the level of import is still “anecdotal”, at an estimated 50,000-70,000 counterfeit truck tires sold in Europe over the last 18 months, in a market estimated at 20 million tires a year. However, it wants European authorities to develop an action plan to stop the influx of fake truck tires, which are being sold for half the normal retail price.
The heavy goods business is an important one for Michelin, accounting for 25 percent of the group’s $18.3 billion U.S. in sales last year and 40 percent of net profit.
But Michelin has warned the Commission that it must take the issue equally seriously. The company’s heavy goods tires are used on trucks carrying loads of up to 40 tons or more, with a potential lifespan of 10 years or 500,000 kilometres. “We are very concerned not to have these tires on the road,” said Philippe Verneuil, head of Michelin’s European truck tire business. “They can create a danger to drivers and the road.”


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