For this year’s summer tyre test, German motoring organisation ADAC, together with its Austrian and Swiss partners, evaluated a total of 31 tyre models – 16 size 195/65 R15 91V tyres were fitted to a VW Golf for testing, while 15 size 215/65 R16 98H products were evaluated using a VW Tiguan. Most tests were performed by ADAC personnel at facilities owned by Bridgestone and Continental.
GfK reports that 2016 was a successful year for tyre manufacturers in the UK. This is said to have been driven by “the increasing number of SUVs on the road”, which naturally does its part to improve product mix. To be specific, according to GfK, 4x4 tyre sales leapt up 18 per cent in terms of units sold year-on-year. However, taking the year as a whole (including other passenger vehicle fitments), last year GfK’s Panel Market GB was flat.
Bridgestone has become the first tyre manufacturer to offer the Society of Operations Engineers’ (SOE) Commercial Tyre Technician Licence to employees of fleets across the UK. The company said the licence would raise standards and improve uniformity in the commercial tyre industry. Attaining the licence requires the completion of three practical assessments and an online test. It aims to regulate the industry and provide best practice with an approved standard that everyone can aspire to achieve. The licence is currently being rolled out, and Bridgestone UK development trainers Phil Thirsk and Paul Turner passed rigorous tests in October to become qualified assessors.
The European market distributor of Wheels India’s forged aluminium wheels, Motor Wheel Service Distribution (MWSD) has launched the next generation Xbrite+. The new product has benefitted from Wheels India’s upgraded multi-million pound production facility; in the advanced production process a polished Xlite forged aluminium wheel goes through several automated treatment stages to permeate the metal deeper.
Falken will show its most energy-efficient tyre to date for electric and hybrid vehicles and launch its 2017 race car when the Sumitomo brand exhibits for the first time at the Geneva International Motor Show on 7-19 March 2017 (Hall 6, Booth 6238, Palexpo).
What differentiates those who work in marketing within the tyre industry from those employed in a technical capacity? The latter tend not to mince words, and are more likely to say what they think rather than slip into jargon and PR-speak. We can learn a lot from this direct approach.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ global brand Falken has won the Tire Technology of the Year Award at the annual awards for innovation and excellence. An independent panel of 27 international tyre industry experts presented the brand’s Advanced 4D Nano Design technology, the latest development of the pioneering work debuted by SRI in 2014, with the accolade on 15 February 2017 at the Tire Technology Expo in Hannover, Germany.
The Mail on Sunday has engaged in a spot of sleuthing, and claims that Kwik Fit charged its undercover reporters for car parts that were never changed and urged them to consent to certain repairs it says were unnecessary. In response, a spokesperson for the vehicle repair and fast-fit chain states that the Mail on Sunday article “focused on a small number of allegations with which we fundamentally disagree.”
The UK economy grew 0.6 per cent in the October-to-December period. Taking the year as a whole, the economy grew 2 per cent, 10 per cent slower than the growth of 2.2 per cent achieved in 2015. Good news, I hear you say. But, as with many things in life, the details tell a more complicated story. Many sources, such as the BBC, contend that this better-than-expected growth is because of increased consumer spending during the last quarter of the year. However, it is also worth pointing out that UK car production achieved a 17-year high in 2016, according to the latest figures published by SMMT. This comes at the same time that the motor manufacturer’s association reported new car registrations of just under 2.7 million for the year – itself another record. This being the case, it is worth taking a closet look at the figures and the messages give us in the inextricably linked tyre sector as well as the economy as a whole.
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With raw material prices reaching the sky-rocket part of their lifecycle, as well as realisation by some Chinese tyremakers that unrealistically low prices can’t go on forever, all in the presence of the now ubiquitous post-Brexit vote uncertainty, many industry observers have suggested that tyre prices – including those for passenger car applications – are likely to rise during 2017. Tyres & Accessories spoke with Encircle Marketing’s resident industry analysts David Myers and Jason Cunningham in order to find out more.
Although the National Tyre Distributors’ Association would like to see them banned and TyreSafe implores motorists not to buy these products, around 4.5 million part-worn tyres are sold in the UK each year. The Local Government Association (LGA) has now also highlighted some of its members’ experiences with the sellers of used tyres, and cautions motorists to exercise caution when buying.
Formula One has a new owner, and while Liberty Media’s acquisition of the championship means business as usual for tyre supplier Pirelli for the time being, another familiar fixture left the stage yesterday. News of the acquisition’s completion was accompanied by the announcement that Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down as F1’s chief executive officer after 40 years in the job.
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.