The 2017 edition of Tyres & Accessories’ annual retail report shows that the overall number of branches controlled by the top 20 retail chains continues to grow. However, that is just part of the story and the data shows that there have actually been significant movements in every tier of the top 20. Perhaps the clearest observation is that Micheldever’s Protyre retail chain is once again the fastest growing in the UK – a title it claims in 2017 for the second consecutive year. Meanwhile, Goodyear’s HiQ franchise network is the top 20’s fastest faller – something that suggests the first changes in the make-up of the top five since we started tracking the UK retail landscape could take place before the year is out.
A desire to purchase before price increases took effect on 1 April buoyed sales of Michelin tyres during the first quarter of 2017. Increased sales volumes accounted for 7.3 per cent of the 9.9 per cent year-on-year rise in net sales during the period. Net sales amounted to €5.57 billion in the first three months of the year. While Michelin hasn’t published its operating result or margins for the quarter, it expressed a hope that margins will improve in the second half of the year.
Following a competitive tender involving several premium competitors, European transport specialist De Rijke Northern Europe B.V. has renewed its contract with Michelin solutions; it will thus continue to manage De Rijke’s tyres across a fleet of 160 tractor units and 660 trailers based in The Netherlands, Belgium and UK for the next three years.
The latest Street Rod from Harley-Davidson will be equipped with the new Michelin Scorcher 21 as original equipment. Michelin comments that the motorcycle manufacturer’s decision to go with the Scorcher 21 is “the latest demonstration of the mutual confidence and synergies that have flourished between the two companies since 2007 through a partnership founded on the co-development of advanced technologies.”
Continental’s had a good run of it in the spate of tyre tests published in time for summer 2017. From victory in the main Auto Bild summer tyre test to wins in those conducted by Auto Bild Sportscars, GTÜ and Gute Fahrt, the Continental Premium Contact 6 and SportContact 6 were deemed amongst the best that money can buy. It thus came as a surprise to see a Conti tyre sitting near the tail end of the newest Auto Bild test table.
James L Welsh & Sons specified Michelin SprayBib and XeoBib tyres for its Unimog sprayer five years ago. Now the Ayrshire-based farmer and contractor predicts the tyres will outlast the machine’s first full life in service. The hard-working ex-demonstrator Mercedes-Benz Unimog U400 was supplied by South Cave Tractors and has clocked up more than 6,000 hours in operation – and still has approximately 40 per cent of tread depth left on each set of tyres.
The Openfield co-operative that helps harvest, store, and market crops for more than 3,500 farmers across the UK has appointed Michelin solutions to manage its tyres. The three-year, price-per-kilometre Effitires deal replaces a transactional agreement with a competing premium tyre brand, and covers Openfield’s 36 Scania and Volvo trucks, plus a mixed fleet of 46 bulk tipper trailers.
ATS Euromaster has renewal its SafeContractor accreditation for the eighth year running. The accreditation, first awarded to ATS Euromaster in 2009, means the tyre and vehicle maintenance specialist can instantly comply with the health and safety requirements of many clients, simplifying the procurement process for potential customers.
Michelin has launched Click2Sell – a website solution the company refers to as “a flexible ‘website in a box’ that helps dealers build their online presence and attract new customers with ease”. While wholesalers have done similar things, Click2Sell is believed to be the only tyre manufacturer-backed website-building package to allow dealerships in the UK and Ireland the freedom to promote their chosen tyre range online. And, what’s more, the range can be either primarily Michelin tyres or a premium competitor. Click2Sell is open to any dealership.
Michelin will supply Pilot Sport 4 tyres to all 1,955 production models of the Alpine A110 First Edition. Exhibited at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the car is fitted with 205/40ZR18 front and 235/40ZR18 rear sizes. The Pilot Sport 4s were designed to complement the character of the car, with Michelin’s engineers completing the development process over two years and more than 3,000km on tracks including the Michelin Technology Center in Ladoux, Charade Circuit in France and at Idiada in Spain.
Michelin will start the process of replacing its most popular heavy truck tyre range on the Birmingham HEC's stand 5A45 with the international debut of the all-new X Multi tyre line-up at the CV Show. The manufacturer states that its tests show the next-generation delivers 15-20 per cent more mileage than the current Michelin X MultiWay 3D series. The tyre is designed to deliver the lowest cost per kilometre with grip in all weather conditions. The new tyres will initially be available from April in 315/70 R 22.5 all-position and drive fitments, alongside 385/55 R 22.5 steer and trailer tyres. Additional sizes will follow later this year.
Renault Trucks has introduced Urban Lab 2 - its distribution concept vehicle - at this year’s Pollutec at Lyon’s Eurexpo exhibition centre until December 2 2016. Developed with six partners under the collaborative Efficient Distribution Truck (EDIT) project, the vehicle combines innovative technology in aerodynamics, hybridisation of the engine, tyres and vehicle-infrastructure communication to achieve potential fuel savings of up to 13 per cent. Having partnered Renault on its Optifuel Lab 1 and 2 projects, Michelin is developing energy-saving tyres.
Although the overall UK market for motorcycle tyres was largely flat in 2016, James Dimmock says Michelin had a fantastic year – and is looking to continue this into 2017. The enthusiasm relayed by the two-wheel marketing manager for the UK, Ireland, the Nordic countries and Russia stems from the introduction of several key products, Michelin’s rider education programmes and its upcoming second season as MotoGP tyre supplier.
Four in every five new Porsche 911 GT3s will be fitted with specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N1 ultra-high-performance tyres, in 245/35 ZR20 front and 305/30 ZR20 rear sizes. The road-legal track tyre is a specially modified version developed as part of the ongoing technical partnership of the German car maker and Michelin – designated by the N1 marking. Compared to its N0 marked predecessor, Michelin says the Pilot Sport Cup 2 N1 offers improved lap times and stability, as well as more sporty handling. The new 911 GT3 was launched by Porsche at the Geneva Motor Show.