Michelin have welcomed the new EU regulations for tyres and insisted the industry needs the transition period to perfect the technology needed.
Environmentalists have complained the new rules to make tyres safer, greener and quieter should come into force sooner.
But Bob Wilcox, director of development for Michelin in the UK, insisted the tyres makers needed time to research, develop and adapt.
He said Michelin welcomed the new regulations, but said there were challenges to meet and time was needed for research.
Mr Wilcox said most people assume a tyre is just a bit of rubber round a wheel when it is, in fact, a ‘highly complex piece of engineering.
‘Tyres are made of many different components and with many different groove patterns.’
An example of the need for research is changing the grooves on a tyre to make it grip better could also make it noisier, so a balance needs to be struck while ensuring tyres meet the new requirements.
The new EU regulation comes into effect in November 2011, however it will be a rolling process and campaigners argue the full effects of the new rules may not come into force until 2023.