Michelin solutions UK commercial director Paul Davey and sales manager Richard Dale have expanded their roles to include functional support to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, in addition to their existing responsibilities within the UK and Ireland.
On 5 January, Micheldever announced that it was being purchased by Sumitomo Rubber Industries of Japan (the company behind Falken, one of Micheldever’s key exclusive brands). While it was no surprise that the business had been sold, the idea that Sumitomo would be the successful bidder was not widely foreseen. With Micheldever having grown into a leading position in the UK wholesale sector with a multi-brand, independent retailer-focused strategy, the acquisition raises many questions for the business’s staff, suppliers and customers. With this in mind, a week after Sumitomo’s purchase Tyres & Accessories met with Micheldever managing director, Duncan Wilkes; wholesale director, Alan Baldwin; and wholesale marketing manager Rory Carlin to find out more about the background to the deal.
Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that Britain is headed for what might be called a hard Brexit in her most direct speech on the subject since the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. She also announced that Parliament would vote on the final Brexit agreement between the UK and the EU.
The pressure to produce higher yields at lower prices is a theme common to most aspects of the agricultural industry; dealing with that pressure is, both literally and figuratively, the task of tyres fitted to the larger, more powerful machinery designed to deliver on this goal. For tyre manufacturers, field tests and demonstrations with the farmers’ and contractors’ own equipment provide the best opportunity to show how their particular products and solutions can help them to achieve increased productivity. It also allows those brands who work most closely with original equipment manufacturers to demonstrate their tyres’ interaction with agricultural machinery and components such as central tyre inflation systems. Tyres & Accessories recently visited Maxwell Farms, near Turriff in Aberdeenshire, to see Michelin conduct such a demonstration.
The company supplying as many as a fifth of all car tyres fitted to new vehicles manufactured and sold in China is preparing for the European launch of its flagship brand, and has its sights on both the original equipment and replacement markets in our region. With its new, designed-for-Europe Giti range, Giti Tire aims to become “an established original equipment supplier and recognised technology partner in Europe.” Three product lines will be introduced into a key initial market in the coming months ahead of a wider European rollout.
Bartec Auto ID is currently an example of a company and brand more famous outside its domestic market than within it, though a recent behind-the-scenes event at the tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and automotive diagnostic equipment manufacturer’s headquarters near Barnsley, South Yorkshire showed how managing director Colin Webb and his team plan to raise the profile of this British manufacturing success story. In the TPMS sector, growing globally with the support of legislation, Bartec claims a market share of more than 80 per cent of car plant installations in Europe and North America, achieved since its first installation for Renault in 1998, and a similar proportion of aftermarket TPMS tools coverage, with 95,000 TPMS devices in North America – including 96 of the 100 largest tyre retail chains – and 28,000 in Europe. The company supplies OEM tools to marques such as Mercedes, Ford and Volkswagen, while manufacturing tools for aftermarket brands like Snap On (TPMS2), Mac Tools (TPR), Schrader (Exp’Air and Activ’air), and Bosch (TPA200).
Harcus Sinclair UK Limited, a UK law firm specialising in large group litigation, has applied for a group litigation order in claims against VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda arising out of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, which has affected 1.2 million cars in the UK alone. This is the first group litigation order sought in relation to the VW emissions scandal on behalf of UK consumers. A group litigation order is the Court’s mechanism for handling claims involving a large number of claimants who share the same complaint. The application for the group litigation order will be heard in the High Court on 30 January 2017. Media is permitted to attend.
The UK new car market achieved another record year in 2016, with annual registrations climbing for the fifth year in a row to almost 2.7 million, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The market has experienced uplifts in 10 out of the last 12 months, albeit finishing with a December down slightly by -1.1 per cent – with 178,022 new cars registered in the month. However, the SMMT also gave a negative prediction for growth in 2017.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ (SRI) £215 million acquisition of the Micheldever Group from Graphite Capital, including Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), the UK’s second largest distributor of tyres, “ensures continuity” of the management and multi-segment brand strategy, according to MTS chief executive Duncan Wilkes. The move also extends the trend of tyre manufacturers buying into – or indeed buying back into – retail through the acquisition of the UK’s largest chains. In April 2016, Tyres & Accessories pointed out that Micheldever’s Protyre chain was the largest growing in the annual survey of the market’s retail landscape – a factor that will have informed the purchase – and three of the top five (Michelin’s ATS Euromaster and Goodyear Dunlop’s HiQ franchise chain) are now manufacturer controlled.
Japan’s Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. has announced its intended acquisition of Micheldever Group Ltd. from Graphite Capital Management LLP. for an enterprise value of £215 million. The tyre maker states its decision to purchase Micheldever is closely linked to the aim of strengthening the market position of its Falken tyre brand in the UK.
2016 was an eventful year for workshop consumables supplier Autogem. The company entered a new chapter back in September 2005 when it was taken over by managing partners and brothers Prashant and Adit Chopra. Operations were relocated to North London and the very disparate parts and consumables supplies line has improved considerably by focusing on its strengths. During the last decade or so, in addition to its wider automotive supply business, TPMS has emerged as something of a strength at Autogem. Indeed, it is this focus that has seen the company repeatedly nominated for Tyre Industry Awards. Tyres & Accessories met with managing director Prashant Chopra and discussed the company’s growth, new warehouse and headquarters, new products and more.
Cooper Tire Europe will support its ambassador Xavier Foj, supplying Discoverer STT Pro tyres to Foj Motorsport for his 27th Dakar Rally. The Foj Motorsport Cooper Tire team has completed a series of rigorous test sessions in the run up to what is considered the toughest endurance event in global motorsport, taking place on 2-14 January 2017 in Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia.
Roborace has named Michelin as its official tyre partner. Michelin has been working secretly at its testing facilities and sharing over 125 years of its expertise with Roborace to develop an exclusive solution for the ultimate ‘Robocar’, designed by Daniel Simon, which will feature next-generation Michelin road tyres to be used in the series. Roborace is currently in its Beta season appearing at Formula E circuits for exhibitions using its development car ‘DevBot’. The official unveiling of the championship's Ultimate car will take place in 2017.
When Reifen China 2016 opened the doors of the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre on the 1 December, it was immediately apparent that several significant changes are afoot in the Chinese tyre show sector. As the name suggests, Reifen China has always been organised by Messe Essen in partnership with China United Rubber Company (CURC) and co-located with CURC's always-well-attended RubberTech. But next year that will change and the Reifen name has been licensed to Messe Frankfurt for use alongside its Automechanika Shanghai show. This move, which began as a ripple-effect emanating from the Reifen versus The Tire, Cologne competition that has been going on in Germany, has caused repercussions as far away as China. As a result CURC (the exhibition firm behind RubberTech and Messe Essen/Reifen China’s former partner) will also be launching a new tyre event in 2017.
Nokian Tyres’ investment in Sigmavision and the installation of its SnapSkan tool via tyre and car service chain Vianor is targeting “improved safety” for “millions of drivers”, the Finnish tyre manufacturer states. The free and fast technology measures the depth of tyre treads on the go and informs the driver of the results, serving motorists on their everyday routes, in locations such as car parks.