Michelin TBR dealers in Ballymena visit
Michelin’s Ballymena, Northern Ireland manufacturing facility has hosted a visit from 27 independent truck and bus tyre dealers. The Michelin Truck Professional (MTP) dealers were invited to see Michelin’s new X MultiWay 3D steer and drive tyres during their manufacture. Guy Heywood, commercial director of Michelin’s truck tyre division, told assembled dealers: “We’re competing in a fiercely competitive market, but one in which we have grown Michelin Group market share by three per cent in the last three years.
“Operator confidence following a prolonged and difficult economic period is rising and we’re going to market with the strongest product line-up in our history, combining fuel efficiency and longevity with high levels of safety. We call this Michelin Total Performance.”
In the last nine months Michelin has launched multiple tyres, including the high-grip X MultiWay 3D regional tyre and the X Line Energy long distance fuel saving range which offers a low total cost of ownership to fleet operators.
Michelin says the MTP network is central to its future growth strategy in the UK and Republic of Ireland, representing 110 accredited service points, supported by a fleet of 350 service vans.
Two new MTP dealers
Richard Bezzant, MTP programme manager, welcomed two new dealer groups to the network; Lodge Tyre in the West Midlands, and Huw Lewis in mid-Wales. He said: “During the second half of this year we are targeting further network expansion with plans to add additional dealer partners in the North of England and the ROI.”
Michelin says all MTP partners are audited annually by an independent inspection programme to ensure they meet the standards required of the network. The audit is also consistent across Europe, and recognises approved specialists as Michelin Certified Centres. In return MTP dealers are given full access to Michelin’s extensive training programmes, covering everything from health and safety to customer care and team management. They also get exclusive rights to sell Kormoran tyres – a mid-range brand manufactured by the Michelin Group.
Michelin also claims that MTP dealers are supported by the largest team of truck and bus-specific account managers of any tyre manufacturer in the UK. The team works closely with accredited dealers’ own staff to drive their business forward, making joint customer visits.
Michelin’s factory in Ballymena produced its first tyre on 3 December 1969 and celebrated the production of its 30 millionth tyre last year. It is the only commercial vehicle tyre manufacturing facility in Ireland.
Spread over 112 acres and employing more than 950 people from across Northern Ireland, it has an annual capacity of 1.4 million commercial vehicle tyres – sufficient to meet the replacement needs of every single truck, bus and coach in the UK.
From 1998 until 2011, the plant was controlled by Michelin’s North America truck tyre operation when around 80 per cent of the output was exported to North America. Since January 2012 the site has been transferred back to European control.
Ballymena continues to be a large exporter of commercial vehicle tyres across the globe, but has increased the volume made for the UK and ROI. It is currently the only Michelin factory in the world to manufacture the latest 295/80 R 22.5 X MultiWay 3D XZE (steer) and XDE (drive) tyres.