2009 may have been a “turbulent time” in the UK passenger car and van tyre markets, but some premium tyre manufacturers finished the year better than it started; and there are signs pointing to the recovery of premium manufacturer’s sell-in sales. That’s the view of Continental Tyre Group executives, who spoke to Tyres & Accessories at the company’s annual market trends briefing in London in December. As well as presenting the company’s influential overview of market sales and general trends, Conti representatives also gave a fascinating insight into how the government’s highly successful scrappage incentive scheme may affect future car sales.
Continental estimates the UK car, 4×4 and van tyre market totalled 33 million tyres in 2009, a slight drop over the final figure from 2008. However, while 2009 is said to have seen motorists hold off getting new tyre purchases, the overall numerical impact on the market is said to have been limited. Instead Continental re-affirmed that the UK tyre market has been experiencing a so-called “de-segmentisation” effect with consumers buying tyres of lower unit value and brand equity than they purchased pre-recession (something Tyres & Accessories first observed in May 2009 following strong Korean-brand tyre sales the preceding March). What is interesting about Continental’s analysis of this effect is that they are the only company so far to suggest that there is a significant group of consumers that are dropping two segments (premium to budget, for example), double de-segmenting if you will.
This month Hankook Tire began supplying Volkswagen’ Jetta, Jetta SportWagen and New Beetle cars manufactured at Volkswagen’s Puebla, Mexico plant and destined for North America with Optimo H725A tyres. Hankook already has fitments on Volkswagen cars in other global markets, but this development represents a significant increase in VW fitments on Volkswagens to be sold in Canada and the US, where the Jetta is the highest selling VW model vehicle.
“We are extremely excited to supply the Optimo for Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta SportWagen and New Beetle exports to the U.S. and Canadian markets. By leveraging our Kontrol Technology in the development of UHP products, Hankook Tire is able to tailor its products to current environmental sustainability standards, and this in turn allows Hankook Tire to deliver quality products to our consumers,” said Seung Hwa Suh, CEO, Hankook Tire, adding: “After working closely with Volkswagen as an OE supplier in other world markets, we have created excellent relationships, and we look forward to earning even more fitments on VW vehicles to be sold in the US and Canada.”
Investors Brad and Jeff Danbom have purchased the assets of Cragar Industries Inc. from Global Entertainment Corp. The Danboms plan to move the company’s headquarters and operations from Tempe, Arizona, to Milford, Iowa.
The company’s existing distribution network will remain intact, according to Brad Danbom. “We plan on being much more aggressive with building brand equity and building relationships with the customers. We are also big believers in organic growth through new product development,” he says.
(Akron/Tire Review) Falken Tire Corp. was selected as “favourite tyres” in the 2007 People’s Choice Awards conducted by C16, a digital automotive enthusiast magazine. C16 polls its readers each year, asking for their favourite brands in categories such as “Car Care” and “Car Handling.” Last year was the inaugural year of the People’s Choice Awards.
“It is victories like this one that prove that Falken Tire has consistently gained the most brand equity in the last few years,” said Nick Fousekis, Falken’s brand manager.
After a four-way agency pitch, Bridgestone UK has appointed Gloucestershire-based Clear Communications to provide above- and below-the-line marketing support. The agency’s remit includes helping to build Bridgestone’s brand equity in the UK and providing tactical initiatives and support for dealers, including the First Stop network. In addition, Clear Communications will help Bridgestone to promote a road safety campaign in the UK, in conjunction with the FIA Foundation (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile). The campaign is entitled “Think Before You Drive.”
(Akron/Tire Review) Special Report by Amy Antenora of AMN – With a number of critical issues currently challenging the automotive aftermarket – SKU proliferation, auto dealer expansion and raw material costs, to name a few – there was no lack for topics of discussion at this year’s Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS), held this week in Chicago.
Bob McKenna, president and CEO of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, moderated a panel discussion posing questions about a number of critical issues such as product demand, brand equity, counterfeiting, vehicle maintenance, Right to Repair and the complexities of aftermarket distribution.