HiQ Unveils Franchisees Following Strategic Growth Decision
Mark Brickhill, the group managing director of Goodyear Dunlop, released a statement towards the end of July commenting on the “high level of interest from ambitious businesses wanting to join us in investing in the future growth of HiQ”. The move towards longer franchises prevented the proposed management buyout from taking place, extending the scheme that had seen great success in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Brickhill stated that since the announcement of the extension of the franchising system to all parent-owned HiQ sites in England and Wales, many businesses had applied to join the scheme: “On the closing date (May 16th) we had more bidders than the total number of franchise regions.
This puts us in a strong position to make choices that ensure we have committed franchisees on board who share our vision in strengthening the network. “Over the next few weeks, we will carefully evaluate each bid to ensure each franchisee has a strong business plan to grow the network by winning and servicing new consumer and fleet business. These plans have to complement existing relationships that Goodyear Dunlop has with Approved Dealers and existing HiQ Franchisees in each region, again to maximise growth.” Sure enough, announcements regarding two new franchisees soon followed. Kisby wins bid for 3 regional retail franchises Chris Kisby, who has 30 years experience in the tyre industry, leads the investment group named as the preferred bidder for the Midlands.
Upon his unveiling as a new franchisee, he stepped down from his role of Goodyear Dunlop UK director, Consumer Tyres with immediate effect to avoid any conflict of interest. The announcement followed the news that a management buyout led by Burrows and three other managers was not successful in its bid for a national retail franchise. According to a Goodyear representative, Kisby’s investment group operates independently of the quartet that proposed the management buyout. Prior to becoming a director, Kisby held a number of key positions within the Goodyear group including UK sales and marketing director, European brand director and managing director for Russia, Belarus and Central Asia, as well as leading the HiQ Retail network. Brickhill stated that, “I am delighted that Chris is the first successful named bidder, as he has been an integral part of our success, and in particular HiQ’s growth, for many years. I’m confident that his knowledge, experience and, above all, focus on contributing to a stronger future HiQ network will ensure that both his personal business ambitions and our network growth plans will be highly successful.” Kisby explained why he made the investment in HiQ: “I am now fulfilling my ultimate ambition of running my own regional tyre retailing business. I know that there is huge potential to grow this business and drive the network forward. I have worked with many of the HiQ Team in the past, many of whom I know personally. I respect their commitment to the business and HiQ concept, and I look forward to this new challenge.”
Roberton unveiled as new Cornwall franchisee Justin Roberton was next to rubber-stamp a deal to own three fast fit centres in Cornwall, after his ambitious bid for a slice of a national franchise plan was accepted. He will now run garages in Truro, Bodmin, and St Austell. Roberton said his successful franchise bid was a ‘dream come true’ and immediately promised to offer Cornwall motorists the highest standards in vehicle servicing, MOTs and tyre changes. He also stated: “This is something I have always dreamt of and I am looking forward to being part of the HiQ franchise network, offering great deals to Cornwall motorists.” Roberton immediately put refurbishment plans in place for the three stores, which will soon boast HiQ’s award winning branding and signage. He added: “I have been in the tyre trade industry since the age of 16 and used to be an area manager with Kwik Fit, before joining HiQ as a regional manager.” Retail director leaves Goodyear Dunlop Before the decision to pursue a franchising scheme, Neil Burrows was to lead a management buyout bid covering all of the company’s owned stores. The over-subscription of the bid process led to the Goodyear Dunlop’s announcement that it had chosen to accelerate the growth of the nationwide vehicle servicing network through franchising, rather than via management buyout. Subsequently, Burrows left the company. Brickhill paid tribute to Burrows’ contribution to the company: “We wish Neil well with his future ambitions. As part of the UK leadership team for four years, he contributed enormously to our business, both from a marketing and a retail leadership perspective. He played a key role in modernising HiQ, introducing our successful franchise programme and our sponsorship of BTCC. Neil’s proposed MBO bid and concept was a typically professional plan which I am sure could have worked.”
Meanwhile, Andy Morris, currently director, Off the Road Tyres accepted the role of HiQ team leader on an interim basis. The company is planning to recruit a new head to lead the HiQ business once the full nationwide franchise programme is in place. Brickhill concluded: “We are investing heavily in HiQ as a core part of Goodyear Dunlop’s plan for profitable growth replicating the successes of our franchise model in the German tyre retailing market. HiQ brand awareness is growing rapidly as a result of our increased marketing investment, and the acceleration of our franchise programme will bring forward the planned rebranding of all of our stores with the award-winning new HiQ visual identity.”