Blog: Graeme RobertsWinter tyres and gouging

Graeme Roberts | 17 October 2011

Less that 5% of motorists are planning to buy winter tyres this year even though weather forecasters are already predicting another winter of chaos on the roads, says Manheim Auctions in a press release. Reasons for not buying include: cost – 41% said they could not afford them.

Met my trusted local garage owner over the weekend - should I think about winter tyres? "Too late, the prices have already doubled," he said. "Not worth it for a week of snow, I'd just stay at home if the driving conditions are hairy."

BMW's media blitz last year suggested the autobiz wants the UK to adopt winter tyres as they do in northern Europe and the North American snowbelt. BMW's even made it easier this year with a GBP30 dealer storage fee for the summer set.

But, if the independents and the aftermarket are going to start hiking prices perhaps months before the first flake falls, the rest of us are simply going to say 'meh' and keep our wallets shut. And teleworking means staying at home when the roads are hairy isn't going to cost the boss a dime.

Meanwhile, Volvo has also announced its winter tyre programme but it's way costlier than BMW's. Wheel and tyre sets from £1,100 (BMW £700) and storage £85 per six months (BMW £30 flat rate).

We asked why and they said: "Our winter tyre and wheel packages are based on using alloy wheels and either Pirelli or Continental tyres, whereas BMW's package of GBP£700 is based upon using steel rims with plastic wheel covers and Goodyear tyres.


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