Online tyre retailers are nothing new, and Michelin’s current 40 per cent share acquisition of leading French portal Allopneus shows the major manufacturers are taking an interest in this business. That said, no major tyre maker sells directly to the public over its own website – but this is about to change. As Goodyear chairman and chief executive officer Richard Kramer announced at the company’s annual shareholders meeting on 13 April, the US-based company is gearing up to begin rolling out online tyre sales in its homeland. Goodyear has yet to comment on whether it plans to extend these web retail activities to other markets.
Michelin says its acquisition of a 40 per cent share in France’s leading internet tyre retailer is a way to offer consumers “a simplified and financially-advantageous path” between searching online for tyre information and making a purchase and having tyres fitted by professionals. The tyre maker is investing €60 million for a minority stake in Allopneus SAS, which currently holds a seven per cent share of the French tyre market and sold some three million tyres last year.