Imported Tyre Quality?


Hi John,

My son & I recently bought new tyres. Mine are Continental MC5 225/45 R17 - for a Golf GTi - from Jax Tyres Haberfield. My Son bought Michelin Pilot Sport 3 - for a Mazda3 SP25 - from Tempe Tyres Tempe.

At both these outlet the tyre were about a third less than the cost of those at Bob Jane. When my son questioned the price at Bob Jane they said that these outlets supply American tyres that are inferior to types made for Australian conditions. We have checked and they are American tyres.

What is the 'real' difference and have we been compromised for quality? Should we take it further?




G'day Ray,

Nice cars. I don't think you should worry. I think your son was fed a bullshit sandwich - without any bread or butter. Those tyres would have been imported anyway - from whichever retailer you purchased them from. There are no unique Australian tyre standards or specifications. Ours is a small market, which doesn't warrant all that much bespoke development. (Also there is no Australian tyre manufacturing any more.) It's ridiculous to presume that there are some 'Australian-spec' versions of the same tyre that warrant a 50 per cent price hike over the ones you bought.

It's more likely that the outlets you found were either:

A) Prepared to sell you those tyres at a reduced margin ... possibly the result of a preferred retailer or other manufacturer 'kickback' arrangements. The tyre industry is drowning in these arrangements. (A Pirelli retailer will always try to sell you Pirellis because he's done a kickback deal with Pirelli. He'll sell you a Conti - but at a premium price to try to convince you to buy the Pirelli because of the kickback he'll get if he shifts enough Pirellis. I once went on a Pirelli junket to NZ for some snow testing with a bunch of tyre retailers; that's how it works.)

B) Importing them directly from a third party overseas, and sidestepping the local distributor at a considerable saving to you. (Like when I purchase camera gear at B&H Photo Video in New York for a third off the price you can buy it here - for the same camera, made in the same factory in Japan.) The Australian distributor would hate this, but what can they do? (Besides a disinformation campaign on how 'inferior' the grey imports are.)

I don't think you need to worry mate - I think you found the right product at a good price.