The Nominations Are In…

A New Year and a new round of the NTDA Tyre & Fast Fit (TAFF) Awards, which in their four-year history have become the most coveted accolade in our industry. The TAFF Awards give the customers the chance to reward those suppliers who provide them with excellent service throughout the year. We often hear that the customer is king, but when it comes to the TAFF Awards, the customer is kingmaker and there can be no higher measure of success than to be voted number one by your customers.

As in previous years, the Awards are sponsored by Renault Vans UK, continuing their long-term affinity partnership with the NTDA. Also as in previous years, the “Industry Advertising Campaign” category is sponsored by Tyres & Accessories.

The format is tried and tested, with five companies nominated in six separate categories and the winner in each being the one who receives most votes on the special forms in the NTDA 2008 Directory, those printed in the January, February and March issues of Tyres & Accessories and those sent out to members by the NTDA. Please note that only votes on original forms will be counted – photocopies are not valid.

The six categories are as follows; Tyre Manufacturer, Wholesaler, Industry Advertising Campaign, Non-Tyre Aftermarket Supplier, Product Innovation and the Environmental award and you should vote for one company in each section.

The winners will be revealed and TAFF Awards themselves will be presented during the NTDA’s Annual Dinner, which this year is being held on Wednesday 16th April at the Metropole Hotel, Birmingham. This coincides with the Commercial vehicle show, which is being held at the NEC from 15th – 17th April.

So, if you have been impressed by the level of service you have received, or a particular product has made a difference to your business, then now is your chance to show your appreciation. There can be only one winner in each category and we congratulate all those who have been nominated and wish them all the best of luck.

Tyre Manufacturer of the Year

The Tyre Manufacturer of the Year Category is one of the most keenly contested, with three different winners in as many years. Two of these have been nominated again for 2008, or will we see yet another new name taking the honours?

  • Bridgestone

This is the fourth year in a row that Bridgestone has been nominated as Tyre Manufacturer of the Year and the company won the title last year. 2007 was another extremely positive year, with successes in car and truck sales, including an increase in sales of run-flat tyres, which are increasingly common-place on UK roads as both original equipment and replacement fitments.

Two Bridgestone-shod cars – the BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series, which run exclusively on Bridgestone Potenza RE050A RFT tyres in certain sizes – won the What Car? Car of the Year awards for the ‘Compact Executive’ and ‘Executive Car’ titles respectively – just as they did in 2006.

Bridgestone also introduced the Dueler H/P Sport RFT, designed to give drivers of sporty 4×4 vehicles a tyre that offers the same characteristics as the rubber on leading coupés and saloons – excellent all-weather handling, sharp steering precision and maximum refinement and control. In addition, the tyre features a reinforced side wall that improves safety by enabling the vehicle to be driven safely after suffering a loss of pressure.

Elsewhere, Bridgestone’s Run-Flat Certificate Programme grows from strength to strength, and the company has underlined its commitment to raise awareness of road and tyre safety by continuing to promote the global Think Before You Drive campaign.

  • Cooper Tire Europe

Cooper tyres are available in the UK through a network of key dealers, plus the company is continuing to expand its network of retailers nationwide. The company’s main European hub warehouse is in the UK, providing Cooper with industry leading fill-rates. In addition, Cooper has opened a European Technical Centre, based in the UK.

The Technical Centre is responsible for all elements of the design and development of products manufactured at Melksham, primarily high-performance Cooper and Avon brand passenger tyres. And this development in on-going, as a number of new products for the European market are in the pipeline.

The name of Avon Tyres is well-established in the UK with a strong heritage. It commands a loyal, long-standing customer base and new retailers are welcome. Looking ahead, exciting new performance passenger products will be introduced to further strengthen the position of the Avon brand.

It is not just about products; Cooper Tire Europe supports its dealers with bespoke merchandising solutions to suit individual customers’ business needs. On offer are external signage, internal graphics and displays for reception areas and staff clothing. By taking this individual approach, Cooper Tire can ensure that it helps its retailers to achieve their business goals and further enhance their profitability.

  • Goodyear Dunlop

2007 was a year of firsts for Goodyear Dunlop. The company set out with the objective of being ‘Driven Together To Be First’, leading to a hugely successful year where they scooped every UK consumer award in the industry.

The revolutionary Goodyear HydraGrip was the winner of the ‘Auto Express’ tyre test, whilst the latest Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric won the ‘Evo’ and ‘Autocar’ tyre tests, with its innovative ActiveCornerGrip Technology providing the best performance in both wet and dry conditions. This tyre is also a nominee in this year’s TAFF “Product Innovation” category.

Dunlop is a brand with a reputation for performance on road and track. The latest Dunlop Sport Maxx GT range incorporates the lessons learned in that most demanding of environments – international touring car racing and won prestigious new OE approvals on cars such as the latest Audi S5. In addition Dunlop gained OE business with Jaguar, BMW, Mini, Volkswagen, Toyota and Vauxhall with the Sport Maxx, FastResponse and SP Sport 01 ranges.

On track, Dunlop dominated touring car racing around the world with the German DTM, Australian V8 Supercars and British Touring Car Championship all choosing Dunlop for performance and durability. On two wheels, Dunlop enjoyed success in MotoGP and British Superbike racing.

In the world of truck tyres, Goodyear Dunlop’s launch of the new TruckForce network delivered a first class performance in a demanding service-led environment, whilst the company’s retail chain, HiQ, began its promise to revolutionise fast fit service with the launch of a new concept that aims to expand the network with uniform standards and identity.

  • Michelin

As a manufacturer and a brand, Michelin’s product lines and company practices are admired reference points for the tyre industry. Michelin’s continued investment in its three manufacturing plants in the UK sets it apart from the rest of the industry. This investment, both in plant technology and equipment and in personnel development through comprehensive and widely available training programmes, is representative of a commitment to continued progress.

Evidence of Michelin’s commitment to environmental products and principles is reflected in the Company’s annual Challenge Bibendum; a global event that showcases the very latest developments in all aspects of sustainable mobility. Equally, the Company is the first in the world to use wind-generated electricity for tyre manufacture at its factory in Dundee, Scotland.

From a community perspective, Michelin’s ‘Fill Up with Air’ road shows have operated across the UK leading the way in an effort to educate motorists about the vital importance of maintaining correct tyre pressures for reasons of health & safety as well as the environment. Michelin Development is a company set up to help local small and medium sized business start-ups with loans and business expertise in areas associated with Michelin production in the UK.

Once again Michelin achieved success in motorsport during 2007 delivering yet another triumph in the gruelling Le Mans 24 hours race. Michelin believes that the very best laboratory for tyre development is competition. Tyres that are winning on the racetracks today are the road tyres of tomorrow.

With a commitment to excellence, it is hardly surprising that Michelin lead in the JDPower rankings, not only in the UK – but also in every country in which the charts are produced.

  • Pirelli

For more than a century, the story of Pirelli tyres has been the story of the automobile itself, the core business of a brand that was born in 1872 and started producing tyres from the late nineteenth century. 1901 saw the introduction of the “Ercole” that equipped some of the earliest cars on the road, while the “Milano” bicycle tyres were introduced every earlier in 1890.

The company’s first victory in a motor race came in the Peking-Paris event in 1907, heralding a tradition of sporting success on two and four wheels consolidated over the years by figures such as Nuvolari, Ascari and Fangio. Over a century of technological excellence and production innovation, from the pre-war Stella Bianca, to the Cinturato radial, the wide series and the modern ultra-low profile tyres.

Pirelli Tyres is, today, the operational holding company for a group involved in the design, development, production and marketing of tyres destined for various types of vehicle, focussing in particular on the high-end segments characterised by high technological advancement and high performance, areas in which Pirelli Tyres has established itself in a position of leadership. Pirelli tyres are today seen as synonymous with quality, emotion and ultimate performance.

In the car tyre sector, Pirelli offers a range of products for cars and 4 x 4 vehicles, focussing on high and ultra-high performance products that aim to combine a level of stability and safety in all driving conditions with excellent grip and roadholding. Benefiting from over one hundred years’ experience of tyre technology Pirelli combines maximum levels of security, longevity and comfort in its products, meeting the demands of the most exacting drivers on both road and track.

Product Innovation Award

The Product Innovation category is probably the most diverse of the six, including tyres, tyre shop machinery and wheels. The previous three winners have all been tyre manufacturers, two of whom are included in this year’s list, but will the trend continue?

  • Beissbarth – ‘Touchless’ Wheel Alignment

Philip Hodges, MD of Beissbarth UK says simply that the company’s ‘Touchless’ wheel alignment system “is the biggest advance in wheel aligner technology that I have witnessed in over 30 years in the industry.” As the name suggests, there are no clamps to damage the rim or car body. Touchless is quick and accurate too – literally within seconds of driving the car into the service bay, the relevant measurements for tyre wear and chassis damage are displayed with absolute precision. Beissbarth claims that the new system could save up to 20 minutes preparation time per vehicle.

Measurement is carried out by four Touchless pods (T-pods). Each utilises a dual digital CCD camera measurement system. The individual cameras are surrounded by 900 LED’s to provide infra-red illumination to facilitate measurement. The two cameras have a slightly different viewing angle to the wheel. The integration of the two images produces a spatial display, similar to the way our brain creates a 3D image from a 2D image from each eye.

Each of the T-Pods is equipped with its own computing capability, it evaluates the stereoscopic images and then determines how the wheel is spatially positioned. This is calculated in each T-Pod by 4 digital signal processors, for a total of 16 system digital signal processors in the measurement system. The data is then processed and displayed on the computer system display.

Quick, accurate and easy to operate, Touchless also needs no cleaning, is mobile so that it can be moved from bay to bay and is not affected by external factors such as bright sunlight. Touchless has made an impact at exhibitions around Europe, including Autopromotec, Brityrex and Automechanika, where it scooped the show’s innovation award in 2006.

  • Corghi/Apaseal – The Corghi Artiglio 50

The Corghi Artiglio 50 is an evolution of the automatic tyre changer featuring the “leva la leva” technology. In other words, operatives continue to use the usual procedures, with no change to their routines, but with absolutely none of the physical effort usually demanded and no risk of damaging particularly delicate or demanding rims and tyres.

At the same time, working times on all latest-generation wheels (from low profile to all run flat types) are slashed. The meticulous design of every single component makes the Artiglio 50 compact, with highly ergonomic working heights and control layouts, introducing new standards such as the single-arm bead breaker unit with 180° swing, or the “Easy to Fit” concept for quick, effective maintenance. All machine movement controls are situated conveniently to hand for ease of operation with less effort.

The machine can handle rims with diameters from 12″ to 30″ and tyres with a maximum diameter of 1200mm (47″). The maximum wheel weight is 85kg. It has gained approvals from Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda, among others.

With the Artiglio 50, Apaseal and Corghi bring technology to a previously-unthinkable market, coming into direct competition with top-of-the-range conventional tyre changers, but with superior technical features and characteristics. The Artiglio 50 is the latest in a long line of machinery, stretching back over Corghi’s 50-year proud history.

  • Goodyear – Eagle F1 Asymmetric

Tyre design is a constantly-evolving science and no matter how popular or successful a tyre is, it will be replaced by an improved version before long. Take for instance the very successful Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3, which has now been superseded by the Eagle F1 Asymmetric.

The new tyre has an asymmetric tread, but also features an asymmetric casing design. This involves adding an aramid reinforcement in the inner sidewall of the tyre and this unique feature is called “Active Cornergrip Technology”.

This allows the tyre to have more even road contact across the entire width of the tread and consequently more grip through corners.
As a vehicle travels through a corner, a high amount of force is exerted through the tyre’s footprint. The car’s weight distribution tendency moves to the outside shoulder of the tyre and the grip on the outside of the tread is increased, while the grip of the inside of the tyre decreases in comparison. This increases the ‘tyre to road’ contact on the inside of the contact area for cornering with more grip – deflection is reduced during cornering for a more even distribution of pressure across the whole contact patch, which consequently provides more grip. The tread compound is derived from Goodyear’s extensive racing experience.

The Eagle F1 Asymmetric is available in 24 sizes, with a Y speed rating, in aspect ratios down to an ultra-low 25 series and for wheels up to 20″ in diameter.

The new tyre made its mark soon after being launched, as it was named the best tyre among nine brands in the ‘Evo’ magazine tyre test and soon afterwards won both the front and rear wheel drive categories in a tyre test by ‘Autocar’ magazine.

  • Michelin – Michelin X Energy XF for Steer Axles

The 315/60 R 22.5 Michelin X Energy XF was introduced in Europe as original equipment in February 2007 and is the first tyre using Michelin’s patented Durable Technologies (InfiniCoil) designed especially for truck steer axles.

With a load carrying capacity of 7.5 tonnes (the same as a 315/70 R 22.5), it is aimed at vehicle manufacturers who need a tyre that increases the steer axle’s load-carrying capacity and also for customers wanting flexibility of use in differing conditions, such as vehicles with different weight and volume capacities.

The 315/60 R 22.5 tyre is typically used by car transporters that have to deal with major load constraints. Previously, users of these vehicles had to carefully position the vehicles carried to avoid overloading the front axle. Thanks to the innovative InfiniCoil architecture that is part of Michelin Durable Technologies, the 315/60 R 22.5 X Energy XF is more robust than its predecessors. Each steer axle’s load-carrying capacity has been increased by 400kgs. This new architecture also enhances durability, even when carrying heavier loads.

In addition, like other tyres in the Energy range, this new tyre helps to reduce fuel consumption with a rolling resistance approximately seven per cent lower than that of the 315/60 R 22.5 XZA2 Energy. The new tyre also shows a five per cent improvement in grip.

  • Yokohama HPT – TSR Range of Alloy Wheels

The UK distributor for Yokohama tyres and TSW and MAK alloy wheels, Yokohama HPT Ltd, has announced the introduction of a brand-new range of aftermarket replacement alloy wheels. The TSR range is designed to provide style and value for money for the tuner and modifier market in the UK and has already caused a stir with this nomination.

The annual TAFF awards recognise innovation that benefits the tyre and wheel retail industry and the TSR range has been nominated thanks to its combination of style, availability and price structure. The range offers four distinct styles, one of which will suit any vehicle and improve the car’s looks and handling, thanks to lower weight than factory equipment.

Managing Director of Yokohama HPT Ltd, David Seward, said: “We feel that this nomination is the perfect recognition for the objectives of the TSR range of wheels, offering style and performance to the consumer while providing an excellent opportunity for the retailer to offer a superb product and exceptional value for money.

“The quality of the TSR range is of the highest standard and the available styles mean that there is something for everyone from the range. We expect interest to be high among the consumers, as well as the retail trade, both with our existing network of dealers and retailers that are keen to expand their range to include TSR. We naturally welcome discussions with any potential new additions to our nationwide dealer structure and look forward to welcoming them to the Yokohama HPT network”

Industry Advertising Campaign

This section of the TAFF Awards is sponsored by Tyres & Accessories and is open to all sectors of the industry and to campaigns in all media – print, Internet, TV etc., whether aimed at the trade or at consumers.

  • Bridgestone UK

A nationwide campaign to drive sales and raise awareness of Bridgestone tyres through its links with Formula One proved a major success for the world’s biggest tyre manufacturer in 2007, demonstrating once again the company’s ability to communicate with retailers and consumers through carefully co-ordinated marketing activity. The meteoric rise to fame and success of Lewis Hamilton has meant that F1 racing was well and truly in the public eye this year – and Bridgestone’s tyres have benefitted from that association.

“Throughout the world, the quality of our tyres was reinforced every race of the 2007 season, and so it made sense for our advertising campaigns to capitalise and reflect on this success,” said Andy Lane, marketing manager at Bridgestone UK. “Our aim through all of our advertising is to reinforce the quality inherent in the Bridgestone brand, and the continued success we enjoy in the pinnacle of motor sport helps us to convey that message.”

Other marketing initiatives carried out by Bridgestone over the past twelve months have included the sponsorship of charity events, running a European wide children’s art competition, taking part in the hunt for a new sports writer from across Europe with the E-reporter competition, and taking its Formula One roadshow to the Royal International Air Tattoo, with a special guest appearance by Jenson Button.

“It has been another incredibly busy year for us,” said Andy Lane, “and we’re just pleased that we’ve been able to take part in so many different events to help ensure we live up to the Bridgestone values of quality, safety and community.”

  • Continental Tyre

Continental’s “tyres for life” is a multi media campaign designed to engage motorists on tyre safety issues. The concept of tyres for life works on several levels from highlighting the safety critical role of tyres to offering motorists literally free tyres for life.

From research, Continental found that motorists are not sufficiently interested in tyres to take complex safety messages from advertising, so we decided on a web site coupled with sales promotions to engage the consumer and deliver safety messages relating to tyres.

The campaign began in July with the launch of a new web site – which highlights safety issues such as tread depth, pressure and tyre condition. The site was advertised through expandable banner advertising on selected motoring and parenting sites and search engines. Following this initial trial the best performing sites were selected to support a nationwide sales promotion launched in September timed to coincide with the onset of autumn/winter with cold wet weather/change of clocks etc.

The promotion offers winners in UK and Ireland free tyres for 20 years, advanced driving lessons and ContiComfortKits. The campaign was supported by further web banners and ads in the quality national press and car magazines. Over 600 tyre dealers, listed in a dealer locator on www.tyresforlife, supported the campaign with point of sale material. To date the web site has achieved over 40,000 unique visits and 56 competition winners have enjoyed their prizes in the UK and Ireland.

The promotion is supported by the Institute of Advanced Motorists and RoSPA.

  • Cooper Tire Europe

Cooper Tire has carried out a sustained advertising campaign during 2007 across the trade and consumer media. Advertising for the Cooper brand has centred on the leading 4×4 magazines and has been aimed at developing brand awareness amongst 4×4 enthusiasts. This has been supported by a strong PR campaign, involving a number of features in the consumer and national press. As a result, 4×4 drivers are increasingly requesting Cooper products.

In terms of trade advertising Cooper has had a number of front covers in Tyres & Accessories. This has featured the message “Your life. Your choice” and promotes the Cooper product as a high-end premium brand. Offering a consistent image, the adverts demonstrate a range of vehicles and tyre applications, from the performance Audi TT to a Land Rover Defender off-road.

In addition the company has used the trade press to communicate with its dealer network on a regular basis. This has included information on Cooper’s involvement with the global A1GP series, progress on other motorsport championships such as the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and British F3 series, along with news on the introduction of new motorcycle products and expansion of existing car tyre ranges.

For the Avon brand, advertising has featured the Avon Tyres British GT Championship in leading consumer performance car titles. This has promoted our title sponsorship of this prestigious championship, as well as developing brand awareness amongst drivers of performance cars.

  • Marangoni Tyre

The campaign objective was to differentiate Marangoni from the plethora of tyre brands in the UK market, and to create a distinctive identity that would resonate with both trade and retail customers.

Promoting Marangoni as ‘the intelligent tyre choice’ saw this developed into the branding of Marangoni outlets as ‘Intelligence Centres’ and spawned two highly creative ad campaigns under the themes of ‘Intelligent Professionals’ and ‘Intelligent Creatures’. These campaigns were run in the tyre industry press and were backed by similarly themed high quality retailer point-of-sale material.

Completely breaking the mould of traditional tyre advertising, both campaigns achieved huge impact and recall and helped consolidate Marangoni as a major brand in its market sector. Active support of the trade campaigns was fundamental to their success and two regular wholesaler/retailer publications were also produced, the quarterly Circuit and the bi-monthly Inside Track to update on breaking news.

Concurrent with these advertising and promotional programmes there has been an ongoing press relations campaign in both trade and consumer publications. These have been sustained and successful in terms of raising the Marangoni profile and achieving considerable exposure. Progetto Marangoni – the manufacturer/media project to create the wildest-ever Toyota Yaris, uniquely linked the go-faster, tuning and enthusiast markets directly with a leading European tyre manufacturer and achieved press coverage calculated in excess of £250,000.

The Marangoni consumer website was launched to educate the market and to become a source of information for both trade and consumers in the UK. It offers postcode-linked outlet location details and product information, together with massively popular competitions that offer Marangoni tyres as prizes. The agency behind the campaign was Torqback Automotive Marketing.

  • Michelin

“Bibendum” – the Michelin Man – is over 100 years old and still going strong. The worldwide icon has once again been at the centre of Michelin’s European 2007 advertising campaign. Notably, Bibendum returned to the television screens after an absence of three years in an advert giving a longevity message that a Michelin tyre can last more than once around the world. This TV message was reinforced by outdoor advertising at motorway service stations and local garages throughout the country where posters and petrol pumps displayed the same message. Further advertising appeared on the company’s fleet of re-branded delivery trucks.

New media were also targeted with online campaigns featuring on a range of sites including MSN, Yahoo, AOL, iVillage as well as trade sites such as Autotrader and Pistonheads. These banner and skyscraper ads carried the longevity message, plus a safety theme emphasising the importance of maintaining correct tyre pressures as well as fuel saving & environmental messages. Voted the leading tyre brand on the Internet by Invisional, online advertising is another area in which Michelin is the industry leader.

Michelin advertising is strong, clear, with positive graphics and has a commitment to continuity of message. Strategic media placement has resulted in greater brand approval throughout the market.

Wholesaler of the Year

This award has, in the past, been dominated by B.I.T.S. – until last year, that is, when Group Tyre UK emerged as the winners. Both are among the nominees once again and it promises to be another close contest.

  • B.I.T.S

B.I.T.S, part of The County tyre Group – the independent family owned group with its head office in Bristol – celebrated its 70th Anniversary last year in some style. Established in 1937, the Group has always been a firm believer in traditional trading values, from personal service to quality products. But 2007 saw the Group confirm its commitment to the future, proudly becoming the first ever winner of the prestigious RMA Green Dealer Award.

The Retread Manufacturers Association (RMA) launched the scheme to increase the awareness of the ecological value of retread tyres among green consumers. Commenting on the win, Managing Director Brian Duguid said: “It really is an honour to win this first ever award. Protecting the environment is very important to everyone at B.I.T.S and we’re committed to providing a sustainable service in the future”.

So what does the future – and in particular 2008 – hold in store for B.I.T.S and its customers? Brian Duguid says: “We always aim to improve our service to customers year-on-year. This means investing in our products, technology and our staff. We aim to go even further to answering all our customers’ tyre needs.”

  • Group Tyre UK

Group Tyre is the UK’s largest wholesale organisation and through a ‘National Strength, Local Service’ approach – delivered at the local level by highly successful companies – has established itself as the most comprehensive ‘one stop shop’ for tyre retailers.

Group Tyre’s service is based on three core principles – product availability, an unrivalled delivery service and competitive pricing. Its product list incorporates 7,365 products, while the stock profile changes in line with consumer demand, enabling Group Tyre to offer the largest and most appropriate range covering popular volume sizes, ultra high performance fitments and the ever-growing 4×4 sector.

Every major brand is stocked, along with a number of margin push brands, while the organisation specialises in high performance and rare/slow moving products. The proliferation of sizes and patterns in stock at any one time – a million tyres with a value of £50m – means that retailers are most likely to find the solution at Group Tyre.

The company understands that a reliable, frequent delivery service is essential to satisfy consumer requirements and has therefore developed a market-leading national, same-day, to on-demand service. Meanwhile, a competitive and market reflective pricing structure – which takes into account direct and indirect suppliers’ pricing and incorporates monthly specials – puts retailers in a strong position to maximise margin while also growing volume.

Group Tyre is committed to helping retailers deliver the service levels that will exceed their customers’ expectations and is delighted to be nominated for Wholesaler of the Year in the NTDA’s Tyre & Fast Fit Awards.

  • Stapleton’s

2007 has been a progressive year for Stapleton’s with two regional distribution centre relocations to larger premises and the opening of a brand new warehouse in Biggleswade.

The new facilities have allowed Stapleton’s to significantly increase capacity, improve stock levels and availability whilst maintaining competitive pricing. The introduction of new technology and picking systems has further improved efficiency and delivery turnaround for customers.

Stapleton’s has also strengthened its offering by investing in a new fleet of delivery vans, bringing the overall fleet up to 179 vehicles, allowing the company to continue to deliver a fast, efficient and reliable delivery service with greater flexibility in terms of delivery options.

With a total of six distribution centres, based in Letchworth, Wakefield, Coatbridge, Avonmouth, Burton and Warrington, combined with the new warehouse facility at Biggleswade, Stapleton’s stocks over 600,000 tyres.

Stapleton’s prides itself on having one of the most comprehensive ranges in the industry. Stocking tyres from all major manufacturers, Stapleton’s offers a range from budget to premium. The Company also supplies a number of private and exclusive brands that offer customers attractive dealer support packages to reward valued loyalty through benefits such as preferential purchasing prices, in-store marketing support, substantial margins and personalised rebate schemes.

  • Viking International

Viking International is delighted to be nominated in the Wholesaler of Year category. With a heritage stretching back over 30 years, Viking International continues to improve its service and product offering with major improvements in all areas of the business to ensure customers receive the very best quality of service.

Viking International offers a comprehensive tyre range to suit all customer requirements from budget to premium. In response to market trends, there has been a significant increase in premium and 4×4 tyre ranges plus the introduction of a new ultra budget range at extremely competitive prices.

Warehouse operations are continually reviewed to maintain and improve service levels. Improvements include a review of warehouse layout, procedures and van runs, and increased storage capacity. These developments have resulted in improved delivery accuracy and frequency for all customers with further plans to improve operations in 2008.

Sales office staff have undergone a major training exercise providing an enhanced ordering service for customers, supported by a complete redevelopment of the on-line ordering facility significantly improving speed, navigation and product search options. The site provides statements, invoices and full order history enabling customers to manage their entire account online.

A New Sales Director was appointed at the beginning of the year and he was promoted to Managing Director after six months. The start of 2008 sees the appointment of a national Sales Manager to ensure customers receive a further improved sales service.

Customer service levels are monitored and improved through the on-going ‘Quality of Service’ survey where customers rate the company’s product and service offering.

Future plans include improvements in operations, strengthening the sales teams and increasing focus on marketing, promotions and the e-commerce offering.

Also nominated in this category: Micheldever Tyre Services

Tyre & Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year

Over the past three years, this award has been won twice by Apaseal, with Rema Tip Top winning in 2006. Once again both companies have made the shortlist, but will there be a new name on the trophy this year?

  • Apaseal

Apaseal is proud to be nominated for this award. The company is driven to continually meet the demands of its customers in this ever-changing tyre and wheel aftermarket and is proud to be one of the few UK manufacturers of tyre repair materials.

This past year has seen the launch by Bridgestone of the BSR run flat solution in which Apaseal and Corghi have played a pivotal role in the support and development of the equipment and training necessary to meet the demands of the aftermarket fitment.

The SP3000 Bead Breaker/Presser is a new ultra rigid help arm, designed to work primarily on ultra hard and very demanding tyres such as SST run flat tyres and specifically, with the SR Kit on the “SR” Support Ring System. Bead breaking is carried out by the gradual penetration of the roller disc on the tyre bead during rotation, without any contact with the rim.

The new SR System kit for the SP3000 is an optional accessory for mounting and demounting run flat wheels with “SR System” (support ring technology). The kit consists of clamping accessories and working tools with touch-less working technology thanks to the use of the new designed “COBRA HEAD” head which is included.

By working in partnership with customers, suppliers and the various representative bodies Apaseal remains committed to providing high quality training at its purpose built training centre and off site on our customers’ premises.

Apaseal also works closely with its supply partners Corghi equipment, Dionys Hofmann UK wheel weights, Schrader valves and Tech tyre repair products in providing profitable solutions for the tyre and fast fit market, both in the UK and overseas.

  • Harvie Prema

The nomination of Harvie Prema for the coveted NTDA ‘Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year Award’ has just capped off a superb year for the company. Managing Director Terry Brooks stated, “I am delighted by this nomination, which I believe is attributed to our superb level of support and commitment to the independent sector. We have focussed closely on our customers’ needs over the past year, delivering a comprehensive product range and direct service tailored to all of their requirements”.

During the year the company introduced a stunning new product catalogue at Brityrex 2007. 84 pages of products, packed with superb technical information and charts, has raised the bar even further, significantly illustrating the advancement of Harvie’s product portfolio and technical expertise over the past three years.

Furthermore, the continued success of the ‘Prema’ range of tyre repair materials has also surpassed the most ambitious expectations. The company has experienced significant uptake in the entire repair sector including retreaders, OTR, truck, bus and car. The soft gum, high tack bonding system is exceptional across all methods of application whether hot or cold.

The Harvie Prema range of products is supported by an excellent range of balance weights, valves and valve hardware, lubricants, chemicals, tools, air line accessories and inflation systems, semi capital goods and capital equipment.

The friendly and efficient service operates from the head office in Lytham St Annes, and on a mobile level throughout the UK, via a fleet of twelve vans fully equipped with a line of products to meet all of a customer’s service requirements.

  • Pro-Align

Pro-Align’s reputation as the UK’s leading wheel alignment specialist is unrivalled and the past year has proven to be their most successful to date. The Hunter imaging aligner is now so popular with workshops that Pro-Align has seen sales in imaging jump to 70 per cent of their total alignment equipment sales. With the advent of the new next generation Hawkeye Imaging Sensors offering even better options for workshops, this trend is set to continue.

The company is also rapidly establishing itself in the retail tyre industry as a quality ‘Tyre Service Equipment’ supplier, thanks to the success of the revolutionary Hunter ‘SmartWeight’ balancer, vibration solving Road Force Balancer and quality Hunter tyre changers.

Paul Beaurain, Pro-Align’s MD, commented: “We are delighted to have been nominated by our customers and NTDA members for the ‘Aftermarket Equipment supplier of the Year’ in the 2008 Taff Awards. It is great recognition of the progress Pro-Align and the team have made within the industry. From small beginnings we are proud to be up there vying for the title amidst some major industry names.”

  • Rema Tip Top

Rema Tip Top UK is proud once again to be among the nominees for the “Aftermarket Supplier of the Year award”. This follows hot on the heels of the company’s recent award in Northern Ireland for the NTDA 2007 Non Tyre Suppler of the Year. Mark Insley, Managing Director, Rema Tip Top UK Limited, stated: “This prestigious industry award is always received with great pride, and to win the award for a fifth time in eight years would be an incredible achievement for the company and a recognition of its continued mission to provide first class service, high quality products and competitive prices”.

During 2007, Rema Tip Top UK continued to assume a high profile presence in the market place. The company opened its doors at three leading industry fairs in 2007, including The Automotive Trade Show, Brityrex and Hillhead. In addition to ‘consumer focused’ activities in the field, the company also significantly improved its web resources and communications available to customers. Visitors to the website, are now greeted by an array of new features and useful information. The site has been significantly modified, making it even easier to buy, resource and communicate – 24/7.

This year, Rema Tip Top UK will exhibit at the newly formatted Commercial Vehicle Show 2008 – in the ‘Workshop 2008’ section and will be delighted to see visitors at this event between 15-17 April at the NEC – stand number 9-131. Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to see the new Butler AIKIDO tyre changer amongst other products from the extensive range of garage consumables and equipment.

Snap-on Equipment

Snap-on Equipment is pleased to have been nominated in the Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year category of the NTDA TAFF Awards. The nomination reflects Snap-on Equipment’s long-standing position as a market leading garage equipment manufacturer, supplier and service provider.

Recent innovations, such as the John Bean V3D Lite, the new easy-to-use wheel alignment system and the Hofmann monty™ 3300 racing, Europe’s best selling performance tyre changer, are set to maintain the company’s focus on making the latest technology accessible to all workshops in the wheel service market.

Snap-on Equipment is a fully owned subsidiary of Snap-on Corporation and was formed in 1997, following the merger of Hofmann and John Bean (formerly Balco), both well-known names in the garage equipment industry.

The company designs, manufactures and markets an extensive range of equipment for car and commercial vehicle service. Products under the Hofmann, John Bean and Cartec brands include brake and suspension testers, chassis dynamometers, tyre changers, wheel balancers and wheel aligners, emission analysers, vehicle lifts, MOT bays and headlight adjustment equipment. Customers are supported through comprehensive in-house service, training and financing operations.

  • Environment Award

Environmental issues have assumed greater significance in recent years, and the tyre industry is no exception, with great efforts – and much success – being made and achieved in the collection, recycling and disposal of scrap tyres.

  • Credential Environmental

Credential Environmental continues to set the pace as a UK market leader in the safe collection, reprocessing and disposal of tyres and automotive wastes and other general hazardous wastes.

Substantial investment at its North Yorkshire and Midlands sites has increased capacity to feed the £4.1 million Tyregenics recycling plant at Baglan in South Wales, (Western Europe’s largest), where Credential has a majority shareholding. Top quality rubber crumb from this facility is supplying a wide range of product applications, including internationally-acclaimed sports surfaces.

At Breighton, Selby, in North Yorkshire, £400,000 has been invested in general site improvement, including £150,000 on new rotors for the 23-tonne shredding plant. Meanwhile, the world’s largest shredding machine – the Tyrannosaurus – is up and running at the firm’s Wednesbury site, representing a significant portion of the £2m investment in the West Midlands processing operation.

In the Peak District, successful trials using Credential tyre chips as an alternative fuel in the high temperature cement kiln of Tarmac Buxton Lime and Cement have led to a 10-year supply agreement. The trials demonstrated significant environmental benefits, including a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and a 15% reduction in emissions of oxides of nitrogen and all the “Critical Success Factors”, set by the Environment Agency for the trial, were met.

Meanwhile, the company’s associate, Credential Automotive has substantially updated its market-leading Total Waste Management Programme to meet the demands of the General Waste Pre-Sort legislation introduced in October and which is impacting on both the garage service and accident repair sectors of the UK motor industry.

  • Michelin

Michelin’s tyre production ethos focuses on the environmental impact of the whole life cycle of the tyre. In the manufacturing process Michelin has been the first manufacturer to install wind turbines at a production plant and majors on reducing all wastage during the production process. At the Company’s truck tyre plant in Ballymena, Ireland, any rubber and metallic waste material is sent to Charles Lawrence International Ltd, which, after shredding and metallic separation, uses the rubber in the manufacture of running tracks and playground surfacing.

Michelin technologies and designs also minimise the impact of the tyre on the environment during its active life span. Currently, three out of four Michelin car tyres sold today in Europe are ‘green’ tyres. Since 1992, thanks to the number of Michelin green car and truck tyres sold, 12 billion litres of fuel have been saved and CO2 emissions have been reduced by 31 million tonnes – it would take 1.2 billion trees to absorb this over one year.

Independent studies show Michelin car tyres to have the longest life when compared with six of their main European competitors. Michelin focuses on developing technologies aimed at reducing rolling resistance and increasing tyre life to reduce the number of end-of-life tyres to be processed.

Tyres with a lower rolling resistance mean better fuel economy and means less fuel is required to drive the car along the road. Michelin has pioneered this science without sacrificing other attributes such as comfort, wear or grip.

Demonstrably, Michelin’s new Energy Saver tyres have carried the Peugeot 308 to the title of most economical family-sized car in the 2007 MPG Marathon. Through a strong R&D collaboration, Michelin and Peugeot have optimised the new Energy Saver range to produce a reduction in rolling resistance of 20 per cent compared to its then class leading predecessor. This means superior fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions of 4g/km.

Once the tyre’s practical vehicular usage has come to an end, Michelin’s involvement continues. Through a partnership with Lafarge Cement, Michelin is helping spearhead a “green” recycling programme with Sapphire Energy Recovery Ltd that turns those tyres into fuel.

  • Vellco Tyre Control

As yet another trading year concludes Vellco Tyre Control (VTC) can reflect on an exciting and successful period, which has included consolidation of many aspects of the company’s business activities.

2007 will be remembered for a number of reasons, including winning the NTDA’s TAFF Award for best environmental company and once again the company has been nominated in the same category for 2008.

Another very positive development was the growing success of two of VTC’s tyre collection partners – Midland Tyre Control, based in the Midlands and Western Tyres of Avonmouth, covering the South, and South West of England.

At the same time part of the company’s fleet of collection vehicles has undergone significant changes in order to take into account new EC regulations on emissions. Additionally, multi-tasking vehicles now operate under the Vellco trading banner which collect car, truck, industrial and agricultural tyre casings, as well as used catalytic convertors and used exhausts. This process therefore reduces the number of vehicles actually visiting customer sites, as well as increasing the efficiency of Vellco’s overall operation, which all together enhances the company’s Carbon Footprint.

Vellco has also created strengthening partnership arrangements with chosen Used Tyre Reprocessors, which includes supplying cement fuel operations and granulation companies with scrap tyres which together enhance the overall tyre recycling operations.

John Campbell, Business Development Director at Vellco, says: “We are working with specifically chosen Companies, who are expert in these fields which further inspires confidence and demonstrates to our customers that they can completely trust the robust procedures we take and underlines our legal requirements and Duty of Care responsibilities towards the environment.”

Vellco is also one of the founder members of the Tyre Recovery Association, an Association which consistently promotes ‘Best Practice’ within the industry. Further evidence of the company’s total commitment comes from its ISO 14001 Environmental accreditation and Vellco Tyre Control looks forward to further enhancing its position in the casing collection market during 2008 and beyond.

Also nominated in this category: Kingpin Tyres Limited and Sapphire Energy Recovery Limited

* * *

These then are the final nominations for the 2008 NTDA Tyre & Fast Fit Awards and it is now up to the tyre industry to choose the winners in each category.

It is a major achievement to be shortlisted and all the companies above deserve a round of applause for making the final list. A number of companies are nominated in more than one category and, on this subject, it is worth mentioning Michelin’s achievement of being shortlisted in no fewer than four of the six categories for this year’s TAFF Awards.


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