BERLIN (Nov. 29, 2010) — Germany's Parliament has adopted an amendment to the German Road Traffic Regulations that requires cars and vans be fitted with winter tires under specified circumstances such as “ice, packed snow, slush, black ice or frost.”
Previously the law required only that vehicles were fitted with tires suitable for the conditions, which was sufficiently vague to be almost meaningless.
There is no mandatory period across the country as weather conditions vary widely in different regions. Also, a parked vehicle is not subject to the new ruling. Trucks in the country need winter tires on the drive axle, though other axles may carry regular tires. Agricultural and forestry vehicles are exempt.
The penalties for breaking the law are doubled to euro 40 from euro 20.
A DEKRA insurance survey showed 93 percent of 1,700 motorists who were asked were in favor of the new rule. (DEKRA is a German organization that works with vehicle inspections, expert appraisals, international claims management, consulting, industrial testing, product testing, certification and environmental protection.)
Even though more than 80 percent of car owners in Germany already regularly change the tires on their vehicles as the cold weather approaches, an additional surge in demand can be expected in the coming weeks. The new regulation is expected to come into force before Christmas.
As a result, online tire retailer Delticom has revised upwards its revenue and earnings targets.
“Winter weather conditions not only in Germany but also elsewhere in Europe have boosted sales volume over the past few days,” Delticom said. “In addition, Delticom has been able to benefit from short dated supplementary delivery promises which helped the availability of winter tires in the companies' online shops.”
Against the background of a market-wide scarcity of winter tires, Delticom said it now anticipates 2010 revenue growth of more than 20 percent year-on-year—previously it expected at least 15 percent—at an EBIT (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) margin of around 10 percent.