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Seeing is believing. Bridgestone challenges press to test premium tyres against low cost imports

Jun, 05 2015

Clear safety advantage of premium tyres 

Bridgestone, the world’s number one tyre and rubber company, demonstrated the advantage of premium tyres at a special press event at the Bridgestone European Proving Ground in Aprilia, near Rome, from 27th to 30th April. 

The aim was to demonstrate to the European press that premium quality tyres perform significantly better then low-cost imports, especially in terms of safety. Through a series of workshops, more than 60 journalists from seven European countries were able to experience the difference themselves… behind the wheel on the test track! 

Jake Rønsholt, Managing Director, Consumer Business Unit, Bridgestone Europe: “Bridgestone wants to expand its European tyre education campaign. Giving journalists themselves the opportunity to experience the difference in safety between premium tyres and cheap imports can help to achieve this.” 

Tyres: vital safety system but poor consumer perception 

Bridgestone runs education campaigns because many consumers don’t realise how important tyres are for their safety. They see tyres as a commodity: round, black pieces of rubber which unfortunately have to be replaced occasionally. A distress purchase! What’s more, there is a huge discrepancy between what many consumers want from a tyre (“safety”, especially in wet conditions) and what they actually do to achieve it – which is to buy cheap tyres and then neglect to take care of them properly. 

Workshops demonstrate the superior safety of premium tyres 

Against this background, Bridgestone’s Premium Safety Event set out to convince the press in a series of workshops that premium tyres really do perform better, especially in terms of safety in wet conditions, through demonstrations and personal experience behind the wheel. 

The first workshops tackled the circuit’s “black lake” wet surface in a Golf VII 2.0 TDI. Drivers were able to experience the difference in wet cornering and hydroplaning between Bridgestone premium Turanza T001 tyres and low-cost imported tyres. A V-Box measuring system in the car then measured actual stopping distances in a wet braking test. Journalists saw that the average stopping distance was at least 4 metres shorter for the premium Bridgestone tyre than the low cost imports. That’s the length of an average car; more than enough to make the vital difference in an emergency braking situation in town. 

More importantly , the residual speed of the VW Golf fitted with the low cost tyres was still 22kph at minimum, which could undoubtedly lead to material damage in the event of hitting a car in front or even worse, a pedestrian. 

To give the whole picture, testing then moved over to a dry track workshop. Here journalists were able to compare tyres and feel the greater stability and reassurance of the Turanza in cornering, slalom manoeuvers and lane changing. 

Lower price can mean higher cost 

When all the measurements were compared and votes counted, participants agreed that the premium Turanza tyre provided much better safety on wet and dry than the low cost imports. 

The group concluded that the temptation to make short-term savings – around 120 euros for 4 of the tested tyres – and buy a cheap low-cost import brand could become an expensive choice, in terms of physical injury and material damage, through a potentially greater risk of accidents when braking.