Car Dealers and Fast Fits Charge 50% More than Independents
New research produced by Birmingham-based aftermarket research specialists, Encircle Marketing, shows that car dealerships are able to sell tyres at up to 50 per cent more than local retailers. According to the data, details of which are exclusively published in this month’s Tyres & Accessories, the “average” UK passenger car tyre costs £79.79, with only fast fits and car dealership exceeding this ceiling – charging averages of £89.72 and £94.21 respectively.
The report confirms the widely publicised belief that local dealerships sell tyres at the cheapest prices in the market (£62.62), 15 per cent lower than average. The data T&A has seen doesn’t draw any conclusions as to why garages and fast-fits are able to charge prices roughly 50 per cent higher than local independents.
When the figures are broken down by speed rating, the so-called ultra-high performance products (bearing speed ratings of W and above) were selling at the highest price point, averaging £115.10 nationally. When you consider that, according to recent DVLA data, UHP tyres wear out 211 per cent quicker than standard tyres, product mix could go some way towards explaining the price gap between fast fits/garages and independents.
S/T-rated tyres cost £59.30 on average, with H-rated products ringing through the tills at £72.70. However, the surprise here is that the increased prevalence of V-rated tyres on the market appears to have pushed their sell-out price below that of H-rated products. Encircle’s research found that the average v-rated tyre cost £69.10, 3.7 per cent less.
Independents let down by service performance
Encircle’s research also provides an insight into the service and sales performance across the retail channels in seven “essential” categories. Interestingly, with respect to Selling Performance, Information Gathering and Closing the Call, the majority of retailers appear to be underperforming. While there was strong industry performance in terms of Introduction, General Impressions and Accessibility, (66, 57 and 77 per cent respectively), the overall average across all assessed areas amounted to 34 per cent. Independent dealers scored an even lower 29 per cent. There were no significant differences between sales and service performance in different geographical areas, but the South West, Scotland, the Midlands and Great London all performed above average, scoring (37, 36, 36 and 35 per cent respectively).
Encircle’s data even goes as far as detailing how talkative sales staff are on the phone. According to the report, the average UK telephones sales call lasted nine minutes and nine seconds. The most talkative sales people were in the South East and the South West, where calls lasted 12:46 and 13:58 respectively. The briefest sales calls in the country apparently take place in the Midlands, where the average calls lasted 07:29.
Squaring the circle
A newly formed market research company, Encircle Marketing aims to give detailed answers to some of the most common retail price and customer service-related questions asked within the tyre market. Encircle produces 100 per cent independently researched data that details current trends such as: the top five retail promotions; average price by speed rating; and sales performance to name just a few.
Encircle’s research is based upon fresh data from the first 2.5 weeks of fieldwork in January 2008. A total of 1,155 mystery calls were made, although the research department told T&A that this is forecast to reach 2,300 by the time we went to press. 6,782 tyre prices were collated, encompassing all major brands (13 in total). The data covers all channels within the market from local independent through to national fast fit. 50 key tyre sizes for car, 4×4 and Van, across all speed ratings, were covered.
Speaking to Tyres & Accessories, Encircle representatives explained that one of the company’s strengths is being able to benchmark data against individual competitors. This means results can be compared by brand, retailer or more broadly against “the market” or any of the above distribution channels.