NTDA Dinner and TAFF Awards Sponsored by Renault UK Vans
Held alongside the popular commercial vehicle and automotive trade shows, the tyre and fast fit industry’s biggest night of the year was no let down. There were some (pleasant) surprises when the award winners were announced; NTDA chairman, John Tarbox, pulled no punches when it came to delivering his speech; and celebrity former-MP (and world record holding after dinner speaker), Gyles Brandeth entertained the 500 invited guests with his razor sharp wit. But without any further ado here are the 2006 Tyre and Fast Fit Award Winners:
Goodyear Dunlop UK had a particularly good night in the eyes of the 5000 NTDA members that voted, winning both the Product Innovation Award and the Industry Advertising Award (presented in association with Tyres & Accessories). Both awards related to the company’s RunOnFlat technology and followed the company’s large-scale investment in raising awareness of the product. Last month, Goodyear announced that the group had produced its 4 millionth RunOnFlat tyre, claiming market leadership in this growing sector. In gaining the advertising award Goodyear beat off particularly strong opposition from Kumho Tyre (UK), Sapphire Energy Recovery, Viking International, BITS and Vipal.
“We are proud to receive this award from the NTDA, as they represent our trade customers, dealers and distributors. Our research tells us that this campaign has been very successful in communicating the advantages of RunOnFlat to drivers, and we are delighted that it has been received so well by the tyre industry,” commented marketing director, Neil Burrows.
C-Tyres Ltd won the 2006 Environmental Award, giving the environmentally-friendly credentials of retreaders a major boost. It was the first time that C-Tyres have won the award since the company started trading in 2002, manufacturing the Colway and Greenway brands of retreaded tyres. Managing director, Gary Oliver commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award and would like to thanks all members of the NTDA who voted for us. We are particularly pleased, not only for us, but for retreaders across the UK, because we believe this award reflects the tyre industry’s recognition of the fact that retreading is at the forefront of tyre recycling.”
Continued Oliver: “The award emphasises our growing status as a comprehensive manufacturer of retreaded tyres. Although C-Tyres has perhaps traditionally been recognised as a car tyre retreader, we have invested heavily in other sectors to develop customer recognition in those areas.” Recent product range developments by C-Tyres include the Major Hi-Miler range of high mileage truck retreads, several new 4×4 and medium truck tyre sizes and the very recent development of a new range of Colway-branded run-flat tyres.
For the seventh time, BITS was named National Wholesaler of the Year. Speaking on behalf of the business Brian Duguid said he was simply “surprised” that the company had won once again, and added: “We have a wonderful team and will continue to put customer relationships at the forefront.”
Regional Wholesaler of the Year went to North Eastern Tyre & Exhausts Ltd. It is the third time NETE has received the regional wholesaler award. In response to winning the award managing director Ian Darcy commented: “To receive this award two years out of the three since it began is some achievement for a company that started life in an old railway yard in Yorkshire by my late father Fred Darcy and my mother Netta. Although I must stress this award is testimony of the hard work, dedication and passion that the people at North Eastern have for both their company, their customers and the industry.”
Rema Tip Top UK Ltd won Tyre & Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year. This was the fourth time in six years, Rema Tip Top had achieved the title. Cliff Jones and Martin Blakey of Rema Tip Top received the prestigious award from Mark Lovett of Renault UK Vans, the awards sponsors. Afterwards, Cliff Jones acknowledged the award, paying tribute to the efforts of the team at Rema Tip Top for their continued success and role in regaining a title which they always take immense pleasure in winning.
The were cheers as Michelin Tyre plc was named Tyre Manufacturer of the Year 2006. The award was collected by Michelin Tyre plc managing director and new Tyre Industry federation chairman, Jim Rickard.
Continental Tyre Group managing director received the NTDA Chairman’s Award, recognising his “meritorious service” to tyre industry. The award is given at the discretion of the chairman. This year was the first time a tyre manufacturer has ever received the honour. John Tarbox, chairman of the NTDA commented: “Presenting the chairman’s award is always an enjoyable task, particularly this year as Brian Smith is such a worthy recipient. Every industry needs leadership and people prepared to work for the wider good. Brian’s support on initiatives such as 3mm and cold weather tyres has been much appreciated by the NTDA and the industry as a whole.”
Brian Smith has worked in the automotive industry for 35 years. As managing director of Continental Tyre Group for over 12 of those, Smith has been an enthusiastic proponent of many industry initiatives including campaigning for better training across the board, educating on cold weather tyres, and campaigning on the safety benefits of changing tyres at 3mm. For 10 years he has led the Tyre Industry Council, helping to develop the roadside tyre check programme, acknowledged as one of the major road safety events in the UK and Northern Ireland. He was also President of the BRMA in 1997/1998.
Incidentally the TIC is soon to change its name to the Tyre Safety Council. “We wish it well,” John Tarbox added referring to the association’s name change.
The chairman’s speech
NTDA chairman John Tarbox opened his speech by recounting the highlights of the association’s year. In the past 12 months the NTDA has expanded its membership to “embrace most of the equities and we are pleased to be able to truly represent tyre retailers, both large and small, in all the areas which impact on your business,” John Tarbox said. He was, of course referring to Central Tyres and ATS Euromasters’ decision to rejoin the association after seven years. The addition of Central Tyres’ roughly 70 centres, ATSE’s more than 500 outlets and 18 new independent members mean NTDA membership now stands at a record 2141 tyre distributors throughout the UK.
The chairman then remarked on the negative effects of the VOSA MOT system failure situation (see page three of May’s T&A for more on this), suggesting that affected retailers should make thorough claims for compensation.
When the spotlight was switched on to run-flat tyres, the gloves were off as far as NTDA chairman, John Tarbox was concerned. “We work in a business which is at the leading edge of technology, I don’t need to tell anyone here just how versatile and important to our safety tyres are and with the latest developments in the world of run flats that technology is moving to new heights. However the launch of these new products onto the market has posed special problems for tyre retailers.”
No manufacturer was left out when it came to criticising the corporate approach to run-flats: “Our problem is with the inconsistency of advice. One manufacturer allows repairing in their run flats in the US, but not in the UK. Another says that repairing, as long as there is no evidence of damage, is perfectly OK. Others ban repairing worldwide. Indeed BMW say in their handbooks that you must not repair run flats. [Furthermore] the statement by the BTMA and TIC falls well short of giving definitive advice. ‘We do not recommend it however you must contact each manufacturers for advice.’ This is a totally unacceptable situation. Our members look to us for help in such situations, and until the industry gets it act together, we will be exposing our industry to accusations of profiteering and worse.”
“We are very frustrated by the lack of information provided by our suppliers and despite our constant protestations things do not seem to be improving. Indeed we approached all UK manufacturers through the BTMA and asked for speakers for a series of seminars we are hoping to run throughout the country on run flats. So far we have had no offers of speakers. I find it hard to understand why manufacturers would not welcome the opportunity of talking about their products to their customers, it won’t cost you anything and we do all the organisation of the event – am I missing something here?”
The case of one manufacturer was seen as particularly disappointing. “Here’s another example of poor communication,” John Tarbox explained: “At the last meeting of my region we discussed the new RAV 4, which has tyres that at present can only be changed by Toyota dealerships. How does it look for a motorist to be told that a tyre specialist cannot change a tyre because it needs special equipment? Another strong argument for closer working relationships between the tyre and car manufacturers and the tyre specialist – that is of course if the car manufacturers want to maintain vibrant tyre specialist network.”
Then there was news of developments within the various industry associations: “During the year the NTDA has joined together with all the other associations operating within the UK tyre industry to form a truly representative Tyre Industry Federation,” Tarbox commented: “I am pleased to say that the federation, with our direct help, will be developing a road map for training for our sector through a working group administered by the NTDA.”
Tarbox welcomed the formation of the TIF, but warned that the “we cannot be complacent” and “we must not allow it to become a talking shop.” “We all appreciate the need for both manufacturers and distributors to work together and the early signs are that there is a willingness, on both sides, to do just that. We will be watching closely the way the Federation develops and we will not be taking anything for granted. Congratulations to Jim Rickard on being appointed the first chairman of the TIF. Jim, you can rest assured that the NTDA will play an active role in making it a success, however, that success must be measurable,” he added.
Another project that will no doubt be of great interest to anyone whose working life is spent studying the development of the tyre market, is the work of the expanded Tyre Market Study group. According to the NTDA chairman, “for an industry of our size the lack of meaningful market information is nonsensical.” As a result we can look forward to seeing “proper market information on both the sell in and sell out markets” at some point in the future.
Next year’s dinner will be held in the Palace Hotel, Manchester, alongside the Brityrex Exhibition. Once again the NTDA AGM and the presentation of the 2007 TAFF Awards will be held in parallel with this event.