Nokian Tyres plc Stock Exchange Release, 29 February 2016, 3:50 p.m.
The company announced in the 24 February issue of the newspaper Kauppalehti that its practices concerning tyre tests have not always in the history been in line with the sustainable approach of Nokian Tyres. Although the practices have substantially improved over the years, the company’s management decided to launch a thorough investigation into the matter in the autumn of 2015. Following the investigation, Nokian Tyres has ensured that any possible malpractices related to testing have been rectified. At the same time, the company has completed a review of its practices in order to increase openness and transparency in all activities.
The products are safe
The company emphasises that its tyres have always been safe and this has never been compromised on.
Over the years, several operators in the field, including Nokian Tyres, have been suspected or evidence has been presented against them of differences between tyres in magazine tests and tyres that are for sale in stores. This has led to the gradual improvement of the testing processes. The most important testers purchase their tyres from tyre retailers and they also re-test new tyres afterwards. This has been going on for years. When test manipulation did occur, the tyre submitted for the test and the tyre received by the customer were different in terms of characteristics, not quality. A tyre has dozens of different characteristics and the company sought to improve one of them by a few per cent for a test, at the cost of another characteristic.
- For example, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 has been tested over 70 times already and it has always come out on top, with no manipulation. In the United States, tyres are only tested by a completely independent consumer organisation that has always bought its test tyres from a retailer. There have never been any attempts to influence tests of the company’s products intended for sale in North America. The tests in the major Nordic, Russian and European professional magazines have been reliable for years. Nokian Heavy Tyres has never been involved in any kind of test manipulation, Lehtoranta says.
- None of the above make our mistakes in the past more acceptable. It should be emphasised, however, that the most important things in terms of the big picture are the safety and the drivers’ personal opinions on how well the tyres work. We have millions of satisfied customers spanning several generations.
The EU tyre labels are reliable
The authority regulated measurement results concerning wet grip, fuel consumption and external rolling noise that Nokian Tyres reports on the sales labels and on its online service have always been reliable.
Customers have received the advertised tyres
Consumers who have bought tyres in recent years on the basis of test results have received tyres whose characteristics match the tyres that were tested. The price of the products is based on expertise gathered over several generations and a stable market position gained through satisfied customers. The opinion of the company is that no grounds for compensation exist.
In the past few days, the media, in Finland in particular, has published different types of speculation following the Kauppalehti’s interview of Nokian Tyres. The stories and commentaries have included several factual errors and unnecessary links between unrelated matters. Nokian Tyres is doing its part in order to correct the misunderstandings.
- However, we are unable to comment on everything, such as the existence, origin or content of the email messages referred to by the media, Lehtoranta says.
The company’s position is based on extensive expertise
The company wants to emphasise that the position of Nokian Tyres’ products is based on know-how accrued over several generations, expertise in extreme conditions, state-of-the-art technology, efficient processes and special products, not only on tests in the motoring media. In addition to the products, the company’s overall success is based on a successful strategy in Russia, state-of-the-art production expertise, a constantly expanding distribution network, functional logistics, knowledge of the passenger car tyre and heavy tyre market segments and competent personnel.
- We sincerely apologise for our actions in the past and want to earn the trust of the consumers and customers in the future, as well. We will continue to succeed in tests, with methods that are guaranteed to be honest, says President and CEO Lehtoranta.
Teleconference on 29 February at 17:00 EET
President and CEO Ari Lehtorantawill be explaining the situation and answering questions in a teleconference that will be arranged today, 29 February, at 17:00 EET. You can participate in the telephone conference by calling one of the numbers below 5–10 minutes before the scheduled starting time:
Nokian Tyres plc
Marketing and Communications Manager
Further information: President and CEO Ari Lehtoranta, tel. +358 10 401 7733
Distribution: Nasdaq OMX Helsinki, the media and www.nokiantyres.com
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