Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) has appointed Graham Mitchell as its new wholesale director. Mitchell will take over the key strategic role following Alan Baldwin’s retirement, scheduled for November. In a 17-year career in the tyre industry, Mitchell has acquired extensive experience across both UK and European markets. He joins MTS from Cooper Tire, where he held senior management roles that included sales director for UK and Western Europe and UK and Northern Europe sales director.
Pictures of de-mounted tyres removed from cars at Micheldever retail businesses look more like scrap than tyres taken of road-going vehicles two weeks ago. And this has made some company representatives suggest that the problem of illegal wear is worse than ever.
Giti Tire has added 15 independent garages to its GT Radial Performance Centre (GTPC) network. The new dealers were welcomed to the network during the company’s new dealer training events at Horiba Mira, hosted in partnership with exclusive UK distributor Micheldever Tyre Services. The latest additions to the network were all signed in 2018.
Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) has begun 2018 with the launch of new tyre products into its distribution line-up, with plans to grow the product lines throughout the year. As well as a new Falken tyre, the wholesaler will commence the distribution of the Sumitomo brand, as discussed with Tyres & Accessories in December, with the BC100 pattern.
Further to news from Micheldever wholesale director Alan Baldwin that the Sumitomo tyre brand is coming to the UK and Europe and will be positioned as an entry-level mid-range brand beneath the Falken brand, the sales director for Falken Tyre Europe’s replacement market business in Germany has shared details on the range heading our way.
As we go to print on the December issue of Tyres & Accessories, Micheldever Group is marking a year since Sumitomo Rubber Industries, manufacturer of Falken Tyres for which MTS is UK distributor, bought the UK tyre distributor from previous owner Graphite Capital Management. While the sale was not unexpected, the identity of the new owner may have been somewhat surprising, though SRI’s investment in Falken Tyre Europe following the late-2015 dissolution of its alliance agreement with Goodyear makes the acquisition of a leading distributor a logical move. For Micheldever’s board, SRI was said to be an attractive new owner, with the presumption that it would offer offering longevity, stability, and consistency; as a large, well-established, high quality top-six tyre manufacturer seeking to broaden its knowledge of UK distribution with an already successful business.
Almost 60 independent tyre dealers attended two extreme driving experience events organised by Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) to try out General Tire’s Grabber AT3 and Grabber X3 off-road 4×4 tyres. The participating dealers, from MTS’s network of General Tire performance partners, took up the extreme driving challenge at Parkwood Off-Road Centre in Bradford and the Harbour Hill Copse off-road site in Aldermaston near Reading, two of the UK’s most challenging 4×4 proving grounds. The two-day event, which included expert off-road driver training and education about the on and off-road properties of the new 4×4 patterns, was held as a reward for the dealers’ increased sales and customer loyalty.
The reduced buying power of the pound is one of the few persistent themes in this period of Brexit induced flux. For the UK’s tyre distributors, it also compounds the effects of rising raw materials prices, and wholesalers must negotiate this period to help support retailers and their already slim margins.
Micheldever Tyre Services has revealed a significant increase in motorbike tyre sales during 2017. In its 40th year of selling tyres for the full range of motorcycle applications, MTS said sales had increased across its range. The company serves customers from its national warehouse network of 25 sites, fully linked for stock availability and replenishment in real-time, and its dedicated online platform BikeTyreBuyer.com. With this structure, it claims to be the only motorbike tyre distributor offering UK nationwide coverage.
Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) has launched what it terms “a major upgrade” to its TyreClick online retail site for independent customers. The company states that the upgrade represents one of the biggest and most significant investments in TyreClick since its launch in 2014, including a number of new design and user functionality features. The tyre wholesaler added that it would “never stop investing in its ambition to make TyreClick the best tyre selling site in the business” following the implementation of the new developments.
On 5 January, Micheldever announced that it was being purchased by Sumitomo Rubber Industries of Japan (the company behind Falken, one of Micheldever’s key exclusive brands). While it was no surprise that the business had been sold, the idea that Sumitomo would be the successful bidder was not widely foreseen. With Micheldever having grown into a leading position in the UK wholesale sector with a multi-brand, independent retailer-focused strategy, the acquisition raises many questions for the business’s staff, suppliers and customers. With this in mind, a week after Sumitomo’s purchase Tyres & Accessories met with Micheldever managing director, Duncan Wilkes; wholesale director, Alan Baldwin; and wholesale marketing manager Rory Carlin to find out more about the background to the deal.
Giti Tire is currently partnering with performance car magazine Evo for a series of track days. The manufacturer states that this “provides an excellent platform” from which to promote its current flagship ultra-high performance product, the GT Radial SportActive. Five events are held at Bedford Autodrome every year. With three track days completed and two more in the diary, including the popular How Fast? on 22 October with F1-style qualifying timed laps and leaderboard, the partnership is revving up.
An influx of new vehicle registrations has driven demand for premium car tyres upwards in the UK. Yet somewhat paradoxically, the price of these products has continued to fall, further impacting the margin retailers can make versus what they can expect on lower-priced products. Tyres & Accessories sat down with Micheldever wholesale director Alan Baldwin and wholesale marketing manager Rory Carlin to discuss the premium fightback and its symptoms for dealers. “Premium brands are absolutely in the ascendancy,” Baldwin says.
Micheldever Tyres Services has appointed Amelia Jordan as its 4×4 and General Tire brand marketing manager. The wholesaler said the appointment has been made will enhance the support Micheldever already provides to its customers.
In October 2014’s Wholesale feature, Tyres & Accessories asked whether Europe’s independent tyre wholesalers still have a future in the context of the German company Ihle Baden Baden’s failure and subsequent sale to Michelin. Pointing to the lightening of the business due to such factors as the price transparency offered by e-commerce (and online marketing) we wondered whether the value of the relationship between customers and their suppliers had become more tenuous, relying only on price and reliability of deliveries. Should these two considerations become the only weapons in a wholesaler’s arsenal, T&A suggested that their role becomes more akin to a specialised freight forwarder.