Kirkby pushing brands harder from expanded site

Liverpool wholesaler Kirkby Tyres, a market leader in the UK agricultural tyre sector, has recently expanded, purchasing a further three acres adjacent to its site for the expansion of warehousing and logistics. The company now has nearly 10 acres at its HQ; the latest development represented significant growth. “Support from our key suppliers is enabling Kirkby to expand in the OE and aftermarket within the UK and Ireland,” MD Dave Dorrity told Tyres & Accessories. The wholesaler supplies Alliance, BKT and Malhotra brand tyres to the segment, as well as becoming the exclusive Trelleborg wholesaler for the UK last year. Ahead of LAMMA, Dorrity gave T&A a rundown of current activities with its major brands, as well as detailing a new deal with Linglong.

With Alliance, Dorrity said, “We’re pushing very heavily, going into 2015, two new patterns, which are the 885 and the 882 steel belted radial flotation tyres. They both feature next generation design and are targeted at both OE and the aftermarket. We’re also going to push the IF and VF technology tyres, which comprise the 372 pattern for the 65 and 70 series high power tractors; and two other patterns, the 354 and 363, which are for row crop applications.  One other pattern we’d like to mention is the 550 design, which is a multi-use steel belted industrial tractor tyre used for municipality functions, such as hedge cutting, and Alliance has now released more than 30 sizes within that range.

“Also with Alliance we want to discuss the forestry market. The brand is making a good impact in this segment with the 344 and 343 designs. There are also four sizes of the 396 design. This product represents quite an important breakthrough; it’s an MPT flotation radial high speed all-steel tyre, which is suitable for speeds of 100km/h. So, it’s a bit like a truck tyre, but for agricultural use – basically a combination where a farmer can now roll at 100km/h. Four sizes are currently available.”

In terms of BKT, Dorrity said that Kirkby is “pushing the FL630 Super and the FL693 steel belted flotation radials very heavily in the OE and aftermarkets. We are also seeing huge growth in the lawn, garden and ATV markets right now; we’re seeing more and more

track, football, farmers’ quad bikes and trailers, so there’s very significant growth in that segment. BKT is investing significantly in the IF and VF range, which is split into the Agrimax Spargo – the IF, VF row crop range – and the Agrimax Force, which is for the 60, 65 and 70 series tractors.

“In addition to the huge range that they already have, there are new sizes in the Agrimax Terrace and Fortis range, with the application of very large and supersize tractors, which we are obviously moving more towards.”

For Malhotra, Kirkby’s designated ‘Value’ range for the UK and Ireland, Dorrity says the brand has “now launched a new set of 85 series tractor radial tyres, and they have additional sizes in cross-ply front, implement applications.  They’ve also now introduced military Land Rover tyres, which is a brand new range, and we’ve had confirmation from Malhotra recently that for 2015 they will invest in 65 series tractor radials, and a range of row crop tyres.”

Trelleborg announced to its dealer network last year that Kirkby would be its exclusive UK distributor, with the context that it wanted to increase the proportion of sales through its Trelleborg Professional Centre network. How does Kirkby feel about this approach? “Our relationship with Trelleborg is a very close one, even though it has only been for one year. The results we’ve seen in that year have been quite impressive, from both sides, and I think Trelleborg picked Kirkby because of our logistics and central distribution, the fact that we could offer next-day delivery in the mainland UK, and we have a very focused sales force. I think they chose to deal with us because we are the agricultural tyre market leader in the UK, and it made sense for them to rationalise its larger number of customers down and allow Kirkby to look after everyone else.”

Dorrity also told T&A about a new high speed trailer range, with an exclusive arrangement with Linglong, and a non-exclusive deal with Nankang. We have a full range of high speed trailer wheels for original equipment and aftermarket too, which is a new sector for us that we’re going to push very heavily into in 2015. We’re also going to invest and launch in 2015 a value range of lawn, garden and ATV products, because we see that there are tyres below the BKT range in pricing.”

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