The tyre business is keeping countries rolling
By the time you read this a quarter of the world will be on some kind of lockdown along with virtually every car plant in Europe and many tyre factories. We are in uncharted territory. And, as ETRMA secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp said recently, we have to brace ourselves for “one of the biggest challenges our industry has ever faced”. And yet there have already been numerous examples of endeavour, enterprise and generosity in the face of such adversity.
For our part, we have been doing our utmost to bring you the news and information that you need to keep countries rolling. Such is the speed at which circumstances have developed, processing and analysing the latest developments has been challenging to say the least. But the take-up of our special coverage and the record online traffic figures we have seen during the last week or so demonstrate how important these services are for the market. That’s why we want to do everything we can to make the news, information and analysis we offer as accessible as we can at this time. And in order to achieve this we are doing two things: Firstly, we are investing in a new website that is faster and more readable on phone and tablet devices. And secondly, we have radically changed our entry-level 1-month online subscription price. In short, we are taking 65% off the normal 1-month online subscription price until the end of April.
One of the most moving moments of recent days here in the UK was the nationwide coordinated handclap of appreciation for the NHS that first took place on the evening of Thursday 26 March 2020. We, like many stood in our doorway and gave thanks for the hard work and dedicated efforts of health and social care staff up and down the country. And rightly so. However, here, I want to take some time to honour the often unsung heroes that keep the ambulances, that keep the trucks delivering and that keep our security services rolling. As we all know, and something that is especially important in light of public transport restrictions, automotive vehicles can’t go anywhere without tyres. Here and now we should salute those that are keeping our transportation and services going as well.
On 23 March 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined strict stay-at-home measures for the whole of the UK. These effectively amount to a country-wide lockdown and will be enforced by the police. However, reading the small print reveals that automotive garages are within the limited number of retailers that will be allowed to remain open. And therefore tyre centres will be allowed to keep going as well. This quite rightly acknowledges the “key worker” status that the tyre business plays in our national effort.
But it is not just about stoically continuing come what may – as laudable as that might be. We should also empathise with our colleagues that have taken the heart-wrenching decision to shut up shop for the sake of employees, customers and the community at large. Reading the comments from businesses across the length and breadth of Britain on our social media pages has really brought this home to me personally, but it is a point worth repeating. Some made this sacrifice before the suite of government support measures were announced. Others did so without any guarantee that they will be able to successfully pick up where they left off when this is all over. And, at the time of going to press, no-one is really saying when that might be.
As chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak MP said on 20 March 2020: “When this is over, and it will be over, we want to look back at this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us. We want to look back this time and remember how we thought first of others and acted with decency. We want to look back on this time and remember how, in the face of a generation-defining moment, we undertook a collective national effort – and we stood together.”
In the tyre business and everywhere, it is this spirit of cooperation that keep cars, vans and trucks moving; that keeps the medics mobile; and that keeps that deliveries flowing. It is this spirit that keeps Britain rolling.