While UK car manufacturing is beginning to reopen production lines after producing just 197 units in April, Andrew Burn, partner and head of Automotive at KPMG, said the road ahead is far from clear, despite the UK’s car dealerships being given the green light to open. Export markets, uncertainty about demand, and the challenge of cross-border supply chains all provide significant headwinds for the country’s car makers.
Only 15 units ran off UK commercial vehicle (CV) production lines in April, -99.3 down year-on-year.The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) chief executive, Mike Hawes said that while unsurprising, the figures “illustrate the incredible challenge facing the UK commercial vehicle sector” as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown.
During our recent “Kickstarting your tyre business webinar”, the panel shared lockdown stories of how they have survived and even experienced success during these difficult times. For his part, Graham Mitchell, wholesale director of Micheldever Tyre Services, shared details of how his company moved from its role as a leading wholesaler to a more support-orientated position. For those pivoting into this new role during lockdown, far from having less to do, this meant being even busier than normal despite wholesale volumes dropping to 25 per cent of normal levels during the depths of lockdown (levels are much more normal now, however).
April car production was basically non-existant in the UK. The country’s output for the month was the lowest since the Second World War, down -99.7 per cent, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures. The coronavirus lockdown forced plants to close, meaning just 197 premium, luxury and sports cars left factory gates in the month. These were models that had been assembled prior to shutdowns with only finishing touches needed.
Tyre distributors from across the country have come together to support the restarting of the tyre trade. Large and small retailers from St Helens to the South East worked together to produce the inaugural Tyrepress webinar entitled “Kick-starting your tyre business’.
Goodyear management has been convicted by the Amiens court for the unfair dismissal of 832 of its former employees. The manufacturer’s factory in Amiens Nord, France, which specialised in the production of agricultural tyres, closed in January 2014. The closure brought to an end a six-year stalemate between staff and management, with the loss of 1,143 jobs. The Thursday May 28 judgement saw the court ask for the provisional execution of the sentence, as requested by the employee’s lawyer, Fiodor Rilov. The amount of damages to be paid is not yet available. Goodyear management has indicated that it has taken note of the ruling, adding that it reserves “the right to appeal.”
Kerr’s Tyres & Auto, one of Northern Ireland’s leading suppliers of tyres and automotive services, has secured a half-million pound loan from Ulster Bank to support it through the coronavirus crisis. It has been delivered through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
FreshLinc Group has moved its entire bulk transport fleet onto its existing Effitires tyre management contract. The company’s fleet now runs exclusively on Michelin tyres as a result. FreshLinc has grown into one of the UK’s biggest logistics firms, having been established in 2996. It operates four separate divisions – FreshLinc Chilled, FLX Logistics, DirectLinc and FLB – with a combined fleet of approximately 400 commercial vehicles. The company has fitted Michelin tyre for more than a decade.
One of Bridgestone’s largest European Bandag franchisees, Top Treads, stayed open during the current pandemic in order “to support our customers, changing working practices” while also “implementing social distancing”, according to Top Treads’ owner and managing director Steve Evans. Moving forward, the firm’s faith in its sustainable retread products is beginning to reap dividends in the demanding commercial tyre market.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is launching a Covid-19 compliance certification scheme for garages wishing to demonstrate to their customers that the environment is safe. The scheme is based on the Government’s safe working guidelines to prevent coronavirus transmission and will underpin the IGA’s case to overturn the six-month MOT extension by providing evidence that garages are safe places for consumers to visit.
GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd are pleased to announce the establishment of a new sales company to serve their Nordic and Baltic export regions. GS Yuasa Battery Nordic began trading from a new distribution centre in Jönköping, Sweden in December 2019. The creation of a new sales company and distribution centre in Sweden represents a significant investment from the battery manufacturer, as it aims to increase market share in the Nordic and Baltic regions.