Bridgestone is Most Recommended 4×4 Tyre Brand
The latest market research on which 4×4 tyre brands are most recommended to customers suggests that the theory that premium brands have been able to hold their share in the market are likely to be true. In the case of Bridgestone (the most recommended 4×4 tyre brand in the survey) this means the company’s tyres are recommended 18.02 per cent of the time, almost twice as much as the nearest competitor.
The number two spot is held by Pirelli, whose tyres are recommended 10.4 per cent of the time. Together with Goodyear (9.92%); Michelin (7.2%); Avon (6.40%); Continental (5.92%); and Dunlop (2.48%), this means premium brands account for over 60 per cent of recommendations. Encircles’ data doesn’t report the specifics of conversion rates, but if the majority of these recommendations are converted into sales (something which is generally considered to be the case) then this premium-heavy metric would put the 4×4 sector way ahead of the passenger car sector as a whole which is considered to be comprised of about 30 per cent premium tyres.
Further examination of the figures reveals another interesting trend and potential explanation for Bridgestone’ complete dominance in the recommendation stakes. According to the Encircle data, despite the fact that is market leader in this survey Bridgestone’s 4×4 tyres are also the cheapest premium brand on the market. Over the course of the survey (April 2009 to February 2010) Bridgestone’s price recommendations were consistently positioned just a few pounds above the average market price, which ranged from £98.87 in October 2009 to £112.42 in February 2010. To make a direct comparison Bridgestone tyres were as much as £14.98 less expensive per tyre (fully inclusive) than next most recommended (Pirelli) in January 2010.
Continental was the most expensive brand, averaging £142.20 per corner across the year, peaking at £160.15 during January 2010. This was nearly £8 more than, Michelin (averaging £134.66) and peaking nearly £10 per tyre lower at £141.92. Perhaps Michelin have been unfairly stereotyped as an expensive tyre in the past? At the other end of the spectrum, Cooper Avon 4×4 tyres hovered around the mid-range price point with prices never breaking the £100 threshold and averaging £95.91.
The non-descript budget category reportedly cost almost half as much as the Continental tyre price, averaging £74.20 and dropping as low as £70.89 in August 2009.
Now it has to be pointed out that these sell-out pricing figures don’t necessarily reflect the sell-in prices charged by the premium manufacturers themselves. However a hypothetical flexible price policy would give dealers the option of offering products cheaper than competing tyres. Having said that, the fact that the sampled recommendations are based on fully inclusive prices means they don’t account for wide variances in fitting, valve and balancing costs across the country and across distribution channels. London prices are likely to be more the rest of the country for example, while fast fits, car dealership and autocentres are reknowned for charging the most for their services. As a result a brand that sold its tyres largely through a predominantly South-East based fast-fit channel, for example, would appear to charge higher prices from retailers than a brand that sells most of its tyres through independent dealers, when this may not necessarily be so.
Encircle’s recommendation data is based on an ongoing and large scale marketing survey conducted by market analysts Encircle Marketing. Sampling across all of the UK’s tyre distribution channels, the data focuses on recommendations (something that is widely accepted to be a key purchase influencing factor) and pricing data.
All in all it appears, legislative factors notwithstanding, weather prevailing and with the proverbial fair wind, the speculation that spring has come early for the 4×4 tyre segment could be true.