In addition to the latest news and analysis, July’s edition of Tyres & Accessories features the aftermarket, van tyres as well the agricultural/industrial/speciality tyre sector. The latter has proved to be amongst the most resilient sectors during the turbulence of the last year or so. The former two reflect changing market dynamics. In short, many things have changed in the automotive and tyre spaces. And the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated that change. But some things stay the same.
First Stop Tyre & Car Services has revealed its striking new rebrand at a flagship store in Birmingham. The Auto Workshop, headed up by father-and-son team Steve and Graham Todd, has become First Stop’s latest partner. Five new jobs have b
At the start of March, Tyres & Accessories met with UK retail network manager, Bridgestone EMIA Mark Widdows in order to learn more about the newly relaunched First Stop tyre retail proposition. The first thing we at T&A noticed was that the tyre retail network previously known simply as First Stop is now badged as First Stop Tyres and Car Services. This subtle but important development shows that the network is moving with current trends that show that leading tyre retail chains are generating almost as much turnover from servicing and light repair work as they are from tyres themselves. It also suggests the level at which the newly-rejuvenated network it planning to pitch its offer. Put the tyres and services language together with the 220-branch goal and it is clear that First Stop is aiming for the top five of the tyre retail tree. And as far as target customers are concerned, this means drivers of roughly three-year-old cars – the post-dealership motorist. It will also have a keen car, van and 4×4 focus.
Halfords Group plc bought McConechy’s Tyre Service Limited, the sixth-largest tyre retail business in the UK, on 7 November 2019 for £8.5 million. This makes the newly-expanded Halfords Autocentres the second largest tyre retailer in the UK.
Late last month it seemed the planned acquisition of A.T.U. by France’s Mobivia would deliver “synergies and interesting development opportunities” for the German tyre and car maintenance chain, however it now appears this appraisal was slightly optimistic. According to information appearing in German publication ‘Manager Magazin’, a major hurdle still stands in the way of the proposed deal’s completion.
The France-based Mobivia Groupe, Europe’s largest independent automotive maintenance and repair services group, based in France, has agreed to acquire leading German autocentre chain ATU. Combined annual sales are expected to be roughly 2.7 billion euros, while there will be close to 2,000 automotive workshops and retail stores and over 20,000 employees in the group.
Kingsway Tyres has invested £450,000 in a new autocentre in Retford for car and van drivers, creating two new jobs and further positions in the future. The network has 16 depots across the east of England, and its new centre will include full MOT testing facilities, four-wheel Bluetooth geometry alignment, air-conditioning offering along with the very best in tyre repairs. Based in Trinity Park Industrial Estate, Sloswick Drive, the facility will also offer 24/7 support for commercial trucks, buses and lorries. The new site replaces Kingsway’s depot in Victoria Road, at which the company had been based for more than 40 years.
Halfords Autocentres has made its first staff appointment as a result of its recent partnership with the Dallaglio Foundation. Halfords Autocentres has hosted a series of employability events across its garages, inviting pupils from the Dallaglio Foundation to learn about the employment opportunities and skills available.
Halfords Autocentres aims to have one apprentice in every centre by 2017. Autocentre apprenticeships have an 80 per cent success rate for the completion of the three year scheme. The apprentices qualify with an NVQ Level 3 Standard combing learning with practical, on-the-job training.
Halfords has relaunched its “trade card”, giving trade professionals access to “the best prices on car maintenance tools and products”. The offers comes alongside the launch of a new trade only website, offering the trade exclusive deals and pricing – up to 50 per cent off in some cases.
Halfords Group has bought Nationwide Autocentres in a £73.2 million deal, which managers described as the next “logical step” in its expansion plans. Nationwide, which has been owned by private equity group Phoenix since 2006, employs 900 mechanics and serves roughly 500,000 customers a year. Nationwide offers customers and fleets MOTs, servicing and repairs, but also recently increased the emphasis on tyres at its 224 outlets.