Kirkby Tyres continues price-conscious exclusive brand strategy

Liverpool-based wholesaler Kirkby Tyres & Wheels has expanded to become one of the biggest – if not the biggest – wholesalers of agricultural tyres and wheels in the UK and Ireland during its 60-plus year history. The distributor now boasts a range of more than 6,000 different product lines, with sole distributorship deals on Alliance, Double Coin, Longmarch, Malhotra and Sailun brands within certain segments. It was also appointed as the wholesale distributor for Trelleborg’s premium agricultural tyre products, alongside Trelleborg Wheel Systems’ direct tyre dealer network.

Kirkby distributes products from its central distribution warehouses, which cover more than six acres in total, in UK and Ireland, housing a recently expanded OTR division and wheel manufacturing and alteration facilities. The company is also served by the Midas virtual warehouse online ordering system.

In 2014, Kirkby’s Double Coin distributorship passed a notable milestone; the company said it had sold in excess of one million of the brand’s truck tyres since it started importing the brand. Double Coin representatives said its tyres, predominantly produced at the company’s Shanghai, China manufacturing base, have achieved this success because more drivers are choosing Double Coin due to the brand’s “mid-range prices” as well as its high quality. New tyres added to Kirkby’s Double Coin offering this year include the RT910 long haul trailer tyre, the RT606 reinforced sidewall bus tyres and the RT600, which is an improved version of the popular RT500.

Kirkby said that Sailun brand CV tyres were also experiencing “continued success” with its S606 and S737 truck range. Sailun Europe managing director, Martin West told Tyres & Accessories that the brand would continue to support its European distribution partners at trade shows, providing Kirkby’s CV Show 2014 stand with display materials.

Kirkby started distributing Longmarch tyres exclusively to UK and European markets this year. Described as a “well proven and tested brand”, Longmarch is positioned with the “price conscious” customer in mind, with European 17.5” and 19.5” sizes increasingly available.

Trelleborg’s engagement of Kirkby Tyres as an exclusive agricultural tyre distributor was described by managing director UK and Ireland, Andrea Manenti as a measure to pick up “smaller accounts” for the premium brand. Known for its exclusive distribution of non-premium brand agricultural tyres, Kirkby was thought to be well-placed to take on Trelleborg as a premium offering.

Kirkby announced the availability of a number of new agricultural tyre sizes in 2014, with Indian manufacturer BKT supplying eight new fitments of tractor and trailer tyres to the Liverpool based wholesaler. Kirkby UK exclusive brand Alliance has three new sizes of its 320 Value Plus tyre for small trailers, balers and agricultural tillage implements. Elsewhere in the agricultural tyres segment, Malhotra Tyres’ company director, Monit Malhotra describes the brand’s UK business as “flourishing” with its exclusive UK distributor. The manufacturer launched its 65 and 95 series agricultural tyres in Essen.

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