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Winter tyre rule causes supply shortage

The Local · 3 Dec 2010, 13:59

Published: 03 Dec 2010 13:59 GMT+01:00

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Last week, Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, voted to pass new regulations cracking down on the failure to use winter tyres, with the new rules to take effect on Saturday.

Under the new rules, drivers caught using their summer tyres in ice, snow or slush will have to pay a €40 fine — up from €20 in previous years. Anyone caught obstructing traffic with inappropriate tyres during the difficult winter season faces an €80 fine and receiving a point on their driver’s licence.

Any tyres bearing the “M+S” marking, which stands for Matsch und Schnee, or “slush and snow,” are approved by the new regulation.

“All-weather tires also count,” the Transportation Ministry said.

But the new rules, in addition to this week’s severe winter weather, mean that the regulation tyres are already sold out in many parts of the country.

“A demand has been created that can hardly be met,” head of the BVR federal association for tyre dealers, Peter Hülzer, told news agency DPA on Thursday.

Despite autumn deliveries being up by some 20 percent compared to last year, there are shortages, he said, adding that the situation may worsen, as manufacturers are already producing summer tyres and rubber prices remain high.

“The market is crazy right now,” Hülzer said, explaining in the most extreme example, tyres suitable for an Audi A2 model which normally cost €45 each are now selling for €150 each.

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On average though, prices have increased between five and 10 percent, he said.

Customers who did not anticipate the change in regulations are in for a nasty surprise, too. Anyone trying to make an appointment to get their tyres changes faces a wait of more than two weeks, he added.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:03 December 3, 2010 by majura
We got our new winter tyres a few weeks ago. Cheaper if you buy them online and get them fitted by someone local.

In comparison to other EU countries this 'increase' in fine is still a very light slap on the wrist... the traffic obstruction fine is somewhat more appropriate. With winters like this (and last year's) it's common sense to ensure people use winter tyres.
18:35 December 3, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Next year make obligatory chains in the tires.
18:58 December 3, 2010 by Landmine
It's a good law, all those too cheap to buy decent tires and cause an accident should be accountable. Otherwise Scrooges, take the train or stay home!
20:57 December 3, 2010 by Gretl
too bad they outlawed studded tires...
21:28 December 3, 2010 by Wise Up!
Ha-ha. We don't have this problem in the US!
23:16 December 3, 2010 by pepsionice
Six years ago (as I was in Germany)....I had bought a new car around early March. I hadn't paid any attention to the tires and on the second day of ownership...a unpredicted snow occurred. I came to discover quickly that it was strictly summer tires on the car. Somehow, I was able to drive 50 km with an inch of snow on the ground and make it home. The next day....at the tire shop.....I came to discover that this Smart car that I owned...had unique sized tires which they didn't readily carry, and it'd be three days before they could acquire them, and the rims were special order....taking another five days.
08:50 December 4, 2010 by tallady
Growing up in Northern Maine ,we were use to snow ,but the tires are different,they are "Snow Tires,with deep treads for moving about in fluffy snow,,and you only put them on the drive wheels,,here I discovered that they are "Winter Tires" need them on all wheels,,more for slippery and cold conditions ,I find them very satisfactory when driving around Berlin in these present conditions and agree totally with the law.
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