Universal triples cold weather tyre stock
Preparations for the last two winters by many businesses and local authorities have been identified as inadequate for the severity of the weather in both seasons. Though current temperatures around the UK could easily lead to complacency, the likelihood of a third successive cold winter has led to Universal Tyres and Spares business development manager Clare Moss asking a question common to most tyre distributors around the country: what is the correct number of winter tyres to stock this year? Moss explains that Universal has upped its stockholding of winter rubber threefold, ordering 3,000 tyres across mid-range and budget segment brands.
Universal thought it had “taken a risk” back in May 2010 by ordering “close to 1,000 Semperit winter tyres from Continental,” describes Moss. “It paid off – all of them had sold by mid-October. When the snow hit hard in December, we then experienced what can only really be described as scrabbling around to source whatever we could from elsewhere – Europe and the UK – to satisfy the soaring demand. Due to this unusual demand, prices shot through the roof, making the idea of buying winter tyres much less attractive for the consumer. Come mid-January, demand had waned dramatically.”
This year, Moss says the company has been paying particular attention to the meteorologists: “If we are to believe the experts, due to global warming, Britain is going to be experiencing increasingly hot summers and ever colder winters. UTSL can’t afford to wait until the last minute to see what will happen, so, using last year as a guide, we have pre-ordered 3,000 cold weather tyres across two mid-range and two budget brands. Hopefully this will be enough to carry us through the season able to hold prices steady, making it easier for the retailer to sell the winter concept to the increasingly price conscious consumer.”
In terms of the level of understanding of winter or cold weather tyres, Moss believes the onus falls on the supply chain to get the message across properly: “Educating the consumer on such a matter falls into the hands of the retailer, and education of the retailer really falls to us, the wholesalers and manufacturers.” Moss believes getting the information down this chain requires an improved format: “I have put together a ‘Why change to cold weather tyres?’ crib sheet, which I’ll be distributing to our customers through September.”
“I’ve tried to make the format simple enough that it can be pinned on a wall for the end consumer to read, or for the retailer to relay verbally if he prefers. Either way, I’m hoping that it will go some way toward making everyone aware of the fact that use of cold weather tyres through the winter season should be seen more as a necessity than an afterthought.”
Universal says it is offering “deals on any cold weather tyres pre-ordered and delivered through September and October. We’d also be more than happy to email you a copy of the crib sheet if you’d like one.” The wholesaler will also communicate cold weather tyre information on the social networks via its Facebook page and @unityres Twitter account.