The road safety partnership RoadSafe has stated its support for near-namesake TyreSafe’s Tyre Safety Month initiative, which runs throughout October. Adrian Walsh, RoadSafe director says: “Tyres are a vital part of your car. You cannot brake, steer or accelerate properly when they are worn or underinflated. Drivers must remember to check them regularly. It can save a life.”
This 50th anniversary year provides an ideal opportunity to look back on half a century of Kumho Tires and its business up to the present day. In an interview with Tyres & Accessories the South Korean manufacturer’s chief executive officer, Jong-Ho Kim, shares how the company has developed, what plans it has for the near future and the importance of football sponsorship.
Leading tyre wholesale operation Micheldever Tyres Services reports that it has increased unit sales despite the difficulties of selling in a market beset with recessionary pressures. This year the company expects sales of 6 million tyres – equivalent to just under 20 per cent of the total UK market – with an annual turnover of over £300 million. Not bad for a company that was bought from its founder Tony Todd in a reported £85 million deal just four years ago. When Tyres & Accessories spoke to wholesale director Alan Baldwin he revealed that these unit sales are set to include 1.2 million Kumho tyres. So does this figure reflect a market move to the mid-range as other sources suggest?
Northern Ireland-based Fisher Engineering has reported that replacing the original equipment tyres on its Manitou rough terrain forklift truck with Michelin’s foam-filled XF and XZSL has increased tyre life. Operating out of its 21,000 sqm facility in Ballinamallard, near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, the rough terrain forklift is used to transport structural steel around the stockyard prior to shipment to major new building projects.
Michelin’s unexpected decision to announce a 1.2 billion euro rights issue at the Paris Motor Show on Tuesday 28 September may have knocked confidence in the company’s free cash flow generation amongst those observers that are concerned the company is being too cautious. But question marks also remain over what the company’s strategy is here. In the trading session following the announcement, Michelin shares dropped by more than 8.0 per cent according to the AFP News agency.
Those who lazily assume all fine British food johnnies are male will be in for a rude shock upon hearing Michelin UK has appointed its first ever female editor for the Great Britain and Ireland, London, and Eating out in Pubs guides. The UK publication Caterer reports that as of October 1 Rebecca Burr will take over the role from Derek Bulmer, who is retiring after 33 years’ association with the guide.
Dmack Tyres reports that it recently completed its first major evaluation of its WRC specification gravel tyre during a two-day test session in Latvia last week. The test was conducted by Dmack’s official driver (three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins) to assess the tyres in terms of high and low speed handling, compound consistency and durability before deciding on the exact final specification.
DMACK’s world rally championship specification 205/65-R15 gravel tyre in G4 compound was used both days on the WRC and Group N rally cars supplied by its technical partner MML Sports. The test road on the first day reportedly had a soft surface with a mix of fast and slow corners while on the second day conditions were faster with a hard base and loose gravel surface. Performance and durability was found to be comparable with other motorsport brands.
At present Apollo Tyres exports 50,000 Apollo branded tyres a month to Europe from its factory in Vadodara, India, yet company ‘sources’ claim this quantity will increase markedly in the coming months. According to Indian financial journal the Hindu Business Line, sources expect a 30 per cent increase in the monthly shipment of tyres to Europe, with 65,000 units a month arriving here by March- April 2011.
Prices for all Pirelli passenger car and light truck tyres sold in the United States will rise as of December 1, 2010. Increases of up to seven per cent will apply. Pirelli says the higher prices are being implemented due to increasing raw material costs.
Kingpin Tyres has reportedly agreed “tough new safety measures” in the wake of three major fires on the site in the last 17 months at its Wem Industrial Estate premises. According to the Shropshire Star staff at Kingpin Tyres have agreed to develop “a safer set of standards for storing the rubber stacks and make the piles smaller to allow firefighters easier access if another fire does break out.”
One of the most distinctive trends observed by leading tyre wholesalers during the course of the last year is the increasing size of the mid-range and budget segments. The predictions that a recessionary economy would support a so-called “de-segmentisation” process appear to have been right, with some of the largest distributors reporting that their retail customers are increasingly opting for budget and mid-range tyre purchases having decided to trade-down from the more expensive premium and OE products they may have had before.
The launch of Grouptyre’s goodtyreguide.com proves that the era of apps, widgets and plugins is upon us (see October's magazine for more on this). And while this column doesn’t normally single out individual companies for attention, the fact that we are running both e-Commerce and Wholesale features this month makes this story too apt to miss.
When Grouptyre announced it was seeking to bridge the wholesale/retail divide with a solution that not only ensures it has an online footprint, but also seeks to make the enterprise profitable for everyone involved, it certainly caught the market’s attention (see September’s magazine for details of the launch). That’s not to say that Grouptyre is unique amongst wholesalers in considering an online channel/B2B plugin approach. Far from it. Tyres & Accessories has it on good authority that all of the top three have looked into operating comparable systems. The difference is that Grouptyre is the first one to seize the initiative and take the plunge.
With October’s Tyre Safety Month of October upon us, the organisation behind the initiative, TyreSafe has released a campaign video stressing the simplicity of testing the suitability of tyres. The video, posted on YouTube and embedded in the page below, features 7 year-old faux-mechanics Kyanne and Finlay showing drivers how simple it is to check their tyre tread depth with a 20p coin. The organisation also states that Department for Transport figures published in its latest road casualty report show that more than 200 people were killed or seriously injured (KSI) in the UK in 2009 as a result of an accident where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.
Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK Ltd has announced the appointment of Peter Tye as retail director, including heading the company’s HiQ tyre and vehicle servicing network. Tye, who was previously franchise development manager, replaces Juergen Titz, who was appointed director of Goodyear Dunlop’s consumer tyre business unit last month.
Peter Tye joined Goodyear Dunlop in 2006 when the company relaunched and revitalised the HiQ brand, its service standards and franchise model. Before joining Goodyear Dunlop, he had 14 years franchising experience, most notably on the Volkswagen Group brands including Audi and Seat.
Plans to increase the number of ATS Euromaster outlets equipped for MOT testing are “on target”, the fast-fitter reports. By the end of the year 100 centres throughout the UK will be able to offer an MOT test service, an increase of 20 per cent. ATS Euromaster says a similar increase is scheduled for 2011.