Tire Efficiency Consumer Information BETA

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Tire Retailers

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Rule Map–>Information Dissemination & Reporting–>TIRE RETAILERS

The  Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) states that the new tire efficiency consumer information program must include “requirements for providing information to consumers, including information at the point of sale and other potential information dissemination methods, including Internet.”  After examining the House Committee on Energy and Commerce report on the legislation, NHTSA concludes that the reference to “point of sale” indicates that Congress intended for NHTSA to establish requirements for tire retailers.

The replacement passenger car tire market is a challenging one for providing consumer information.  NHTSA’s consumer research shows that replacement tire purchases are often made at an unplanned time.  Also, as the market inundates consumers with constantly expanding choices,  many people select a tire make and model at the location of purchase with help from a sales associate.  Based on this consumer research, NHTSA believes the most effective way to inform consumers of the new rating system is to require tire retailers to do three things:

First, to maximize consumer exposure to tire rating information, retailers must leave the new paper rating label on the tire until the tire is sold.

Second, the retailer must display a poster that will be available from NHTSA.  The poster will inform consumers that their choice of tires will affect fuel efficiency, traction and other safety characteristics of the vehicle, and the length of time they can reasonably expect before having to replace their tires again. Also, the poster will contain information about the new rating system; it will encourage consumers to ask the dealer for ratings on the tires they are considering and to visit the NHTSA web site.  Finally, the poster will advocate regular tire maintenance, including the importance of maintaining proper inflation.

To assure this information is conveyed to the consumer in the most effective way, NHTSA seeks suggestions for the poster design. Specifically, how can the poster promote interest in the rating system? Is there other information NHTSA should include on the poster? If so, what?

Third, tire retailers with an Internet presence or virtual storefront must post a link on their site to the comprehensive tire website NHTSA plans to develop.  This requirement is based on NHTSA’s belief that consumers who do research tire purchase options before arriving at the retail store will often use the Internet.

Should NHTSA require tire retailers to include other links and information about the new tire ratings? For example, should NHSTA provide an electronic version of the poster designed for display in the tire retail stores?

In light of consumer behavior, are there other steps NHTSA should consider in order to ensure that consumers receive, understand, and use the new tire rating information?

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