Why winter tyres could be more expensive in Austria this year

Motorists need to change to winter tyres if they will be on the roads during Austria's cold season, but the switch could be more expensive this year due to the rising cost of raw materials.

Car on snowy winter road
Don't forget to change to winter tyres if you will be driving in Austria this winter. Photo: Lisa/Pexels

The winter tyre season starts on November 1st in Austria, after which winter tyres are a legal requirement for all cars and trucks during wintry conditions (snow and ice) until April 15th. 

The tyre requirement is tied to the weather conditions rather than the date range, so even after November, you can use normal tyres in mild conditions.

Mechanics and auto industry leaders are reporting an increase in the cost of tyres this year.

Mario Alfreider, from Alfreider Auto Repair in Oberndorf, Tyrol, told The Local: “Prices this year are around three percent higher than last year because there is high demand and less supply globally.”

He added that despite this, there were plenty of tyres available in the region, so there was no need for any fears of a shortage.

READ MORE: Key points: Austria announces new rules for winter tourism

Michael Peschek-Tomasi, Branch Spokesman for the Car Tyre Trade in Salzburg, told ORF that winter tyres are 10 to 12 percent more expensive this year due to the rising cost of raw materials.

Peschek-Tomasi also said there are “delivery bottlenecks” for tyres that contain more steel, known as C tyres, because the global cost of steel has increased, leading to less tyres being produced.

C tyres are used on light trucks and vans, which have been popular with buyers in Austria in the past year due to the upcoming NoVA (standard consumption tax) increase.

Commercial vehicles will be more expensive to buy in Austria from May 1st 2022 when NoVA will increase. The tax rise was initially planned to be introduced on July 1st 2021 but was postponed due to supply chain delays for new commercial vehicles.

What’s behind the price rise?

Many of the world’s largest tyre plants are based in Asia and production has been impacted by new disinfection processes at facilities and Covid-19 restrictions. 

Throw in a shortage of steel due to higher prices and it has resulted in less tyres being produced globally.

Peschek-Tomasi, from the Car Tyre Trade in Salzburg, says delivery times for direct orders made to factories in Asia are currently around six weeks.

Reuters recently reported how a tyre shortage in the US is impacting farmers in Illinois during the harvest.

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EU takes action against Austria on working rights

Austria comes up short in areas such as 'transparent and predictable working conditions' and 'promotion of equality in the labour market', the EU Commission has said.

EU takes action against Austria on working rights

The EU Commission has reprimanded Austria on several labour market issues, according to a press statement by the Brussels-based authority.

Austria is lagging in properly implementing EU regulations in “transparent and predictable working conditions” and “promotion of equality in the labour market”.

After the European Union sends out directives to member states, it also sets a deadline for the countries to bring the EU-agreed rules to the national level.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

The first directive for “transparent and predictable working conditions” provides more extensive and updated labour rights and protection to the 182 million workers in the European Union.

The EU Commission stated: “With the new rules, workers have, for instance, the right to more predictability regarding assignments and working time. They will also have the right to receive timely and more complete information about the essential aspects of their job, such as place of work and remuneration”.

Austria and 18 other member states have failed to communicate the complete transposition of the directive into national law by the deadline of August 1st.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

Promotion of equality in the labour market

Additionally, Austria has failed to notify national measures transposing the “Work-Life Balance Directive” by the EU and has been notified along with 18 other countries.

The directive “aims to ensure equality in labour market participation by encouraging equal sharing of care responsibilities between parents”.

“It introduced paternity leave, ensuring that fathers/second parents have the right to take at least ten working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child. The Directive also establishes a minimum of four months of parental leave, with at least two of the four months non-transferable from one parent to another.

READ ALSO: Non-EU family members of EU citizens can obtain long-term residence, court rules

“It establishes five working days per year of carers’ leave for each worker providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household and gives all working parents of children up to at least eight years old and all carers a right to request flexible working arrangements.”

The Austrian federal government now has two months to respond to the EU Commission’s letter of formal notice, otherwise, it faces another warning – and could eventually see its case going to the European Court of Justice.