By Denna Bowman
Michelin is anticipating a substantial rise in the sales of cold weather tyres this winter, despite the unusually mild weather enjoyed by most parts of the UK during the past three months.
The French tyres manufacturer has estimated that around half a million winter tyres were sold by the end of December 2011, about 50% more than by the same time last winter.
The figures is also about three or four times as many as a few years ago and is regarded as even more impressive given that the tough economic climate has meant motorists have less cash to spare.
Jianni Geras, head of car marketing at Michelin Tyre PLC, said: “This increase in the sales of cold weather tyres marks a real change in motorists’ behaviour, as drivers appear determined to avoid the chaos of losing grip on icy or snow covered winter roads.
“This is also being taken on board by tyre retailers.”
Cold weather tyres, which are effective in all conditions when temperatures are below about 7 degrees Celsius, and not just when it is snowy, are routinely fitted by drivers in many continental countries but British car-owners only started taking a real interest in them after recent severe winters.
The tyres rely for their improved grip in winter conditions on rubber compounds that differ from those used in summer tyres, and tread patterns designed to disperse water or slush effectively and key into snowy surfaces.