Tyre Classifications & Brands

Here's a summary on the main Tyre classifications and which Brands fall into which category. For those of you with an interest in which tyre manufacturers produce tyres in the UK, there is also a section on this below.

Tyres can, broadly speaking, be split into 3 classifications:

Premium Tyres

Premium brands includes all the major brands, many of which you will have heard of like:


These and other premium tyre manufacturers constantly invest heavily in research and development to improve the technology and the performance of their products.

Mid-range Tyres

Also referred to as "Quality Tyres", these are normally tyres manufactured to the highest standards, who are developing a position in the market place with the ambition to become a Premium Brand.

Both Premium and Mid-range tyre brands will also work closely with vehicle manufacturers to produce tyres that meet the highly detailed specifications of original equipment (OE) on new vehicles. This means that OE tyres have been through a rigorous testing and acceptance process to meet the highest standards of specific vehicle requirements.

Budget Tyres

Also known as "Economy Tyres" will include a range of manufacturer names that you would normally not recognise but they still satisfy European safety standards. They are a good choice for those on a budget, but the investment in the raw materials in addition to research and development is not as good as the Mid-range and Premium Tyres.

Premium vs. Budget Tyres

We’re often asked “what’s the difference between premium and budget tyres?”

There are typically three main reasons for the differences between premium and budget tyres; enhanced technology, improved all round performance, and greater safety characteristics.


Premium tyres will use the latest technology and research, not only in materials but also in test methods, industrial procedures and research and development (R&D). Premium tyres are developed to give the best performance in safety, grip, rolling resistance and endurance that's available on the market at any time.

Premium manufacturers, like Michelin, use computer modelling, fluid dynamics and simulation tools that budget manufacturer don't necessarily use. As a guide, many experts suggest that the technology behind a budget tyre can be as much as 10 – 15 years old.


Budget manufacturers tend to make products to a price point, whereas premium manufacturers strive to make the best tyres they can, using their best technology, developed and tested throughout the markets where the tyre is going to be used.

Many people may think they are saving money by buying budget tyres, and maybe they are in the short-term but in some cases any savings made by purchasing a budget tyre can be lost with lower fuel economy over the life of the tyre, or the loss of mileage, and that's before you consider safety.


Premium tyres are expected to offer enhanced safety on the road and premium manufacturers work extensively with original equipment vehicle manufacturers, to give their cars the best possible performance by optimising the relationship between the tyre and the car togive the driver the best safety, grip, comfort, noise, longevity and rolling resistance.

When it comes to tyre performance in the wet, each labelling grade in wet braking is equivalent to one car length in braking at 50mph. So a saving of £X per tyre could easily result in far longer braking distances in the wet. When you need that grip, we suspect you would happily pay that extra money as you’re sliding along the road.

Whilst we know that tyres are often a distress purchase, your car is often your second biggest purchase after your house and your tyres are the only thing between your car and the road and even more significantly ‘your family’ and the dangers of the road. – Is the cost you’ll save by buying a budget tyre really worth the compromise on safety? Would you buy a budget child car seat for instance?

UK Tyre Factories 

A number of tyre manufacturers produce tyres in the UK:

    Michelin have major factories in Dundee and Ballymena
    Pirelli produce tyres at their head office in Burton upon Trent
    Bridgestone produce tyres in Carlisle
    Avon, manufacture in Melksham
    Goodyear / Dunlop produce certain specialist tyres in Castle Bromwich