Four out of five consumers changing tyre shopping behaviour
Following what was generally regarded as an insightful presentation on the impact of coronavirus on global, European and UK tyre markets, the panel for our “New Tyres in Corona-World” Virtual Tyre Industry Conference 2020 session (James Ward, senior insight manager, GfK; Andrea Manenti, VP north region, Bridgestone; and Pravesh Amtha, Sales General Manager Consumer UK&I, Goodyear) moved into a discussion relating to how manufacturers are working on creatively supporting the tyre trade in the face of the second lockdown and ongoing pandemic- and economy-related complications.
While van manufacturers have been both developing their electric portfolios and sustaining a double-digit sales contraction in a pandemic affected market, the picture for van tyre suppliers is certainly not as hostile. As we will see in this feature, the requirements of e-commerce and electric vehicles are providing new impetus to van tyre suppliers in the medium term. But 2020 UK figures generated by market data analyst GfK’s Point of Sales Tracking show that the segment is faring better than many with the travails of this year. At the same time, several trends are coalescing to improve the fortunes of van tyre suppliers.
5 November saw the inaugural virtual Tyre Industry Conference, with Tyres & Accessories bringing the traditional annual conference into the virtual arena due to Covid-19 restrictions. Produced in association with the NTDA and supported by Cam Systems, our expert panel was comprised of James Ward, senior insight manager, GfK; Andrea Manenti, VP north region, Bridgestone; and Pravesh Amtha, sales general manager Consumer UK&I, Goodyear. The wide-ranging 45-minute conversation covered a lot of bases, but the first session, which was designed to focus on the new tyre market’s recent trends and statistics began with a presentation from James Ward.
Conserving costs, maximising business: Apollo Tyres’ response to the coronavirus pandemic
One way or another 2020 has been an eventful year for all of us. The same is true at Apollo Tyres where, at a global level, the company has had to navigate pandemic-related production pauses and restarts along with new factory openings and the decision to enter the two-wheel segment. At the same time as continuing to develop the Apollo brand, the company has also given the Vredestein brand a big push during the last month or so. First, with the launch of a new all-season range, then with the introduction of a new North American tyre line-up and – in order to support both – a pitch-side advertising partnership with Manchester United football club. Tyres & Accessories recently interviewed Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and MD, Apollo Tyres Ltd in order to find out more.
A burning issue: what tyres keep fire departments on the roads
It is often said that this is the busiest week of the year for the nation’s firefighters. While 5 November 2020 looks likely to be an outlier in this regard thanks to the new national restrictions to counter rising Covid-19 infections, there’s no more appropriate time of year to follow up our previous looks at the tyre demands of police forces with a similar analysis of the fire service. T&A made Freedom of Information requests to the largest, by number of full-time firefighters, UK fire services earlier in 2020, asking for such data as: tyres bought and replaced, the fleet size and vehicle parc, minimum tread depth at change, and whether tyres were regrooved and/or retreaded. The latter is probably the easiest question to answer, as eight fire services told T&A that they do not retread their tyres versus zero who do.
Chinese tyre import share rises above 50% in declining European market
China accounted for more than half of all passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tyres entering the European Union and the United Kingdom for the first time during the first eight months of 2020. Comparatively, the then 28 EU nations imported 105 million passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tyres from outside the region in the same period of 2019.* The major impact on tyre demand of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as varying degrees of disrupted production, led to the EU-27 and UK together importing 21 million fewer tyres in the corresponding period of 2020, a reduction of 20 per cent. The Eurostat and HMRC data was compiled by leading data analyst Astutus Research.
MTS responding to recovery in a tyre market altered wholesale
There have been serious challenges to tyre distribution in 2020, and while demand has returned with the end of the national lockdown, Covid-19’s autumn rise means the spectre of spring’s market conditions looms over the winter months. This year, companies have needed to manage the operational problems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns throughout Europe; they also needed to weigh up wildly fluctuating supply and demand. Whether there is a return to a concerted national effort similar to the UK’s actions in April and May or not, the lessons learned during this period continue to prove relevant. Meanwhile, the sector was already experiencing difficult times prior to the outbreak, with European tyre market demand flat overall in the light vehicle sector – a situation that certainly deteriorated in the pandemic. For the October magazines wholesale feature, Tyres & Accessories spoke to a range of players in the wholesale sector in Western Europe to look at the lessons of this year, and how recovery is progressing. We start with Micheldever Tyre Services, a leading UK player in the light vehicle tyre market especially, which has experienced a “strong” return of demand in the second half of the year, according to wholesale director Graham Mitchell.
Yokohama’s Prometeon bid: Delayed by Covid, but nearing completion
Yokohama’s Prometeon bid: Delayed by Covid, but nearing completion
Today Yokohama announced that it is consolidating its OTR tyre businesses into Yokohama Off-Highway Tires, which could be read as a prelude to the announcement Yokohama’s bid for the Prometeon tyre business. Roughly a year after the story broke, Yokohama’s bid for Prometeon isn’t the best kept secret in the tyre industry. Tyres & Accessories first heard talk of Yokohama’s bid for the ex-Pirelli industrial and commercial vehicle tyre business back in July 2019. The news was reported world-wide after we broke the story in September 2019, followed days later by third-party confirmation from the Chinese side of the deal. At that time, the deal was set to go public by the end of 2019. A few months later at the start of 2020, the timeframe switched to an end-of-first-quarter 2020 deadline. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened. And in the months that have followed things have gone quiet. So, where is Yokohama’s bid for Prometeon up to? The latest news is that deal is still on-track, but that there have been a few changes along the way. Here, Tyres & Accessories brings an update on the status of the acquisition and offers a different view on the deal by looking at it from a South American perspective.
Falken Tire takes pole position in 2020 global social media ranking
As Tyres & Accessories annual global social media ranking enters its seventh edition, this year there is a new winner. Last year’s champion, Pirelli, has fallen two places to third position. At the same time, Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ Falken brand rose an impressive eight positions to take the top spot. And Pirelli wasn’t the only well-known name to downshift, with two other brands taking retrograde steps. At the same time, in a reflection of what has taken place in the UK-only ranking, the top 10 has a new entry, with previously 10th-ranked MRF being overtaken by another large Indian tyremaker.
In October’s magazine, Tyres & Accessories takes a closer look at the latest developments in the multifaceted online tyre business. This article specifically looks at online tyre buying and pricing in conjunction with tyre pricing and selling-way data specialists Encircle Marketing. However, this is just one dimension in the online tyre business. In addition to online tyre retail, there is also the question of online marketing, an area in which social networks are playing an increasing important role (see separate article for further details). And on top of this, there is the electronic infrastructure necessary for the tyre business to participate – beginning with increasingly smart web sites and going onto integrated pricing and marketing tools.
Michelin tops 2020 UK social media ranking, Davanti enters top 10
For the fourth year in a row, Michelin can be found at the top of Tyres & Accessories’ 2020 UK social media ranking. Indeed, such is Michelin’s dominance in the annual table, only Goodyear (in 2012) and Dunlop (in 2016) have done enough to overtake the UK arm of the French tyre brand since our research began in 2011. In both cases, Michelin still managed to take second place.
Hankook extending core competencies to drive future growth
Hankooks global launch of Laufenn brand commercial vehicle tyres, targeting the segment’s second tier, represents a substantial development for the company’s commercial vehicle tyre business. For the UK market in which Hankook is a leader in terms of sales, the initial nine Laufenn patterns cover more than 85 per cent of tyres in the market for goods and people transportation, as well as construction truck tyres. Most sizes also offer the three peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) marking for use in winter conditions. The Laufenn range was due to be presented in the UK at the Commercial Vehicle Show, before the Birmingham NEC event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Tyres & Accessories took the opportunity of the launch to speak to Guy Heywood, Hankook’s European marketing and strategy director for its truck and bus business, and UK sales director Paul Emery about the addition of Laufenn to the manufacturer’s European commercial vehicle tyre portfolio, Hankook’s position as a leading player in the segment, and its response to the coronavirus crisis and the financial headwinds emanating from the pandemic.
Green restart: Retreaded tyres as a decarbonisation aide
Despite the fact that the UK was in the middle of lockdown, Michelin Tyre Plc’s ultra-modern retread manufacturing operation resumed production at the end of April. In fact, according to the company, there were only two reasons that the Campbell Road, Stoke-on-Trent site paused manufacturing at all: because the coronavirus-related closures coincided with a pre-planned maintenance stoppage; and because – again due to Covid-19 – there was trouble securing deliveries of the right raw materials from the continent prior to April (see Michelin Stoke up-and-running, looking forward to ‘steady market growth’ for Michelin UK factory manager Francois Levert’s view on how things have progressed after reopening). Therefore, Michelin UK’s retread manufacturing operation only actually endured a three-week factory shutdown. The neighbouring UK headquarters opened in mid-July and so now its truck tyre and retreading business is putting the focus on success in the new normal. This began with a communications drive that has seen the manufacturer promote the ecological benefits of retreads. Tyres & Accessories spoke with Michelin Plc managing director Chris Smith in order to find out more.
September registrations: Market shifts towards private ownership of hybrid cars
Overall registrations remain under great pressure, but the latest new car sales figures point to another bumper month for electric vehicles. Meanwhile, diesel-fuelled internal combustion engine vehicles have taken the biggest hit. There are also signs that vehicle ownership preferences are changing. But what does this mean for the shape of the car market that feeds aftermarket tyre sales?
The last time Tyres & Accessories interviewed online tyre entrepreneur, Mike Welch, his latest venture Tirescanner was making in-roads in the US tyre retail market. Such was the concept’s growth that Welch had been pitching the business to investors in a bid to move onto phase two of Tirescanner’s development. Roughly a year later, T&A asked how things are progressing: