Tyre manufacturing industry representative the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) says homologation – the process of certifying or approving a product for introduction into a market – of new tyre ranges is crucial, as tyres are a safety critical component in vehicles.
“Homologation ensures that all tyres coming into the South African market meet the required stringent safety requirements. It minimises the risk of noncompliant tyres being introduced into the South African automotive market,” says SATMC executive manager Nobuzwe Mangcu.
This reduces the possibility of a costly exercise that entails the withdrawal of tyres already distributed throughout South Africa that do not comply with local legislative requirements; it also minimises legal action against the supplier, importer or manufacturer for distributing noncompliant tyres, she explains.
Mangcu says the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications – an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry – charges levies for verifying compliance with technical specifications and standards. The verification process for tyres currently relies on international accreditation as South Africa does not have a tyre testing facility. Tyre manufacturers are currently not required to pay any local levies for homologation, she adds.
However, Mangcu says that local tyre manufacturers are required to pay levies on all tyres manufactured locally for local consumption and export, notwithstanding the lack of homologation.
“We have therefore requested to have exported tyres exempted as further levies are payable in the country to which we sell. “We view this as an additional constraint to the competitiveness of our industry, in an environment where we are exposed to significant international competition.”
Further, the SATMC advocates for homologation and testing of tyres in South Africa prior to their introduction onto the South African market, she states.
Mangcu notes that the biggest advantage of homologation is that it provides a much higher level of tyre safety for South African motorists, which is crucial, as local road conditions require robust tyres.
The biggest challenge faced by the industry currently with regard to homologation is that the homologation process is time consuming even without the addition of local verification.
“The application process takes 120 days and is the point at which new models can be introduced onto the South African market,” she explains.
The SATMC has advocated for the development of local tyre testing facilities, as well as acquiring the requisite technical capacity and expertise.
“These measures are aimed at reducing backlogs and would, in turn, lead to a marked positive economic impact, increased manufacturing output and export flows, and, most importantly, ensuring that South African consumers are not at risk,” Mangcu comments.
She concludes that SATMC urges consumers to inspect all tyres bought.