LONDON-The sale of part-worn tires should be better regulated, to prevent unsafe tires from getting onto the market, according to the United Kingdom's Tyre Industry Council (TIC). Part-worn tires are a bad product for the consumer and ``a very expensive product per mile'' compared with retreads and new tires, said Peter Taylor, TIC secretary, at a recent meeting in London.
In the U.K., the problem of part-worn tires-usually called used tires in the U.S.-is increasing for economic reasons, he said. Used tires are ``very profitable for retailers but bad news for everyone else,'' he added.
In addition to being a poor value product, they take used casings away from retreaders, who have a ``legitimate and respected'' product, Mr. Taylor added. They also are bad for the environment, since tires which would have to be disposed of in Germany are now being exported to the U.K. for resale and eventual disposal.
Bad publicity for used tires ``does the image of our industry no good,'' Mr. Taylor said. This market represents 2 million tires a year in the U.K., but a recent TIC survey found 37 percent of the used tires examined to be defective.
The U.K. has to dispose of more than 400,000 tons of scrap tires a year, but Bob Pollock, director of the British Rubber Manufacturers Association, said, ``Personally I don't see the U.K. as having a used tire problem compared to other European countries.'' He said other countries envied the U.K.'s success in this area.
Scrap tire stockpiles are a problem, and the industry must ensure that old tire dumps are not regarded as a source of ``pristine casings,'' Mr. Pollock said. TIC data show an 11-percent fall in manufacturers' shipments of new car and light truck tires to U.K. dealers in 1993, indicating ``the degree to which many motorists are neglecting their tires.''
Heavy truck tire sales fell by 6.4 percent, to 1.27 million units, in 1993, reflecting the continuing recession and dealer destocking. The TIC expects this trend to reverse in 1994, as dealers restock for an improved economic outlook.