Motor shows and events - Chinese tyres: Investigation into the brands present at the Essen tyre show

Chinese tyres: Investigation into the brands present at the Essen tyre show

Events Published the 29/04/2013 by Anna

Our presence at Reifen Essen, Europe's biggest tyre show, gave us the opportunity to meet representatives from Chinese tyre manufacturers. We were in for a few surprises…

Reifen Essen Show Tyre brands from all over the world were exhibited at the 2012 Reifen Essen Show - Copyright © : Reifen Messe

Identical products sold under two different brand names

Our first stop was at the LongMarch stand, a brand of tyres for trucks and light commercial vehicles. The tyres are manufactured by Chaoyang Long March Tire, a tyre manufacturer established in 2003. The manufacturer announces an annual production of 170 million tyres per year with exports to 90 countries worldwide. On the stand, there were also tyres from another brand, RoadLux. The similarity of certain products from the two brands intrigued us: We examined them from every angle, but in vain, we were unable to differentiate between them. Normal, explained the salesman, they are exactly the same tyre:  “Some customers prefer LongMarch, others prefer RoadLux…”  No technical differences, no positioning differences: The strategy is simply to increase the market share…

Tyre manufacturers producing tyres made to order

Koryo, another Chinese brand present at the show, literally offer to produce tyres for your brand. No need to be a tyre specialist. You choose tyres from the manufacturer’s ranges, you order a few thousand tyres and you launch your own brand of tyres! A common practice, as confirmed by other Chinese tyre manufacturers present at the show.

The multiplication of Chinese brands can be partially explained by their ability to offer small series production. With a computer and some funds, a Chinese entrepreneur can distribute tyres throughout the world, never having seen a single tyre…

A flattering design but technical aberrations

Chinese tyre with a flame motif Copyright © : All rights reserved
What strikes you as you walk around the stands of various Chinese brands is the tyre design. The tread patterns are well worked to suggest dynamism and sportiness. The design is aesthetically pleasing, but what about from a technical standpoint?

A closer inspection of tyres exhibited at the show revealed many technical inconsistencies due to an obvious lack of expertise. We also noticed that some tyre manufacturers offer sports tyre and winter tyres with the same tread pattern, snow tyres with tread blocks where water cannot be dispersed and many other aberrations that work against safety.

Admittedly, this assessment is based on a quick inspection of the tread pattern on tyres. Given that what conditions a tyre’s efficiency is not visible to the naked eye; it is difficult to paint a more reassuring picture for the quality of the tyre’s structure or compound...