UK new car registrations fell -34.9 per cent in June, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) as the market began a tentative restart after more than two months of lockdown. The drop was an improvement on May’s -89.0 per cent wipe-out but, with 145,377 new car registrations, this still represented a significant decline of 78,044 compared with June 2019, as dealerships in Wales and Scotland remained closed for much of the month.
Pyramids Tires, a new tyre manufacturer based in Port Said, northeast Egypt, saw its first tyres roll off the production line on 9 May 2020. The factory currently manufactures motorcycle, forklift and agricultural tyres as part of the first phase of the plant’s development. The second phase, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, will see the company add passenger car, truck and OTR tyres to its portfolio.
Michelin Tyre Plc reopened its retread manufacturing plant at the end of April, but – like much of the company – has been largely working remotely during lockdown. Now, the company is reopening its Campbell Road, Stoke-on-Trent headquarters from mid-July in a bid to move towards the new normal. But what does that look like? Tyres & Accessories spoke with UK managing director Chris Smith in order to find out.
Reifen Gundlach has resumed its exclusive distribution of GT Radial brand tyres in Germany. The new deal comes three years after Giti Tire ended their previously long-standing exclusive partnership with the wholesaler, started in 1994. Giti stated in 2017 that it wanted to to “achieve a higher market penetration with a planned realignment of the brand.” Part of the strategy was to make the GT Radial brand available through four different wholesalers. This coincided with the European entry of its eponymous Giti brand, with a special focus on the German market. At its peak, it had previously sold around a million GT Radial tyres per year, according to Gundlach statements. Now in 2020, the manufacturer has opted to resume its exclusive arrangement for GT Radial with Gundlach.
Responding to the 52.3 per cent fall in May European car registrations, the NFDA says UK showrooms are reporting “positive trading” in the two weeks since reopening. The latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) show that the decline has become less severe. In April, sales had declined by 76.3 per cent.
European passenger car registrations plummeted 52.3 per cent during May, according to the latest ACEA figures. Although COVID-19 lockdown measures were eased in many countries last month, the number of new cars sold across the European Union fell from 1,217,259 units in May 2019 to 581,161 passenger cars in May of this year.
ZC Rubber will add 68 new sizes to its Z-series winter tyre lines. The Chinese manufacturer, based in Hangzhou, says the new sizes aim to meet the diverse demands of European customers. They are designed for the wet and snowy road conditions typical of the continent’s winters. The new sizes will be available across its All Elite Season Z-401, Zupersnow Z-507, and Icemaster Spike Z-506 products. The tyres will be available for the 2020/21 winter season. ZC Rubber launched the Z-401 all-season tyre, the Z-507 winter tyre, and the studded winter tyre Z-506 in Europe last year. It tells Tyres & Accessories that the three Z-series lines “have gained great popularity with sales exceeding expectations.”
While the Finnish tyremaker is best known for its winter and Nordic market-orientated products, Nokian Tyres is currently promoting its “versatile summer tyre selection for Central European market”. Nokian’s latest generation summer tyre range features “Dual Zone Safety technology”, which is specially developed for varying summer conditions. According to the company, this technology was first introduced in the passenger car models and then carried on to the SUV and cross-over range. Nokian Tyres’ products offer premium driving comfort, durability and, above all, first-class safety – ensuring perfect peace of mind for all summer trips.
On the morning of 10 June 2020, well-respected market analysts GfK hosted an webinar for north of 170 European tyre executives. Overall, the “Global Car Tyre Market Overview” presentation concluded that, while there are many variables and unknowns, retail tyre demand in 2020 market is likely to be down 20-30 per cent compared with 2019.
Private brand Nordexx, from Denmark’s NDI Group, has launched its first all-season tyre for cars and vans. The NA6000 targets “a gap in the market for affordable all-season tyres,” Admir Ramic, Nordexx export manager, tells Tyres & Accessories. The Nordexx brand is exported to 61 countries around the world.
Leading tyre market data analyst Astutus Research has predicted that the European trend for higher performance tyres looks set to continue. The analyst’s report, ‘Future Dynamics of the European PCLT Tire Industry’, published in association with Tyrepress, has been updated for 2019 with an eye to the trends of the next five years. The analyst states: “The movement towards tyres with a higher rim diameter is clear within the European PCLT tyre replacement market. This reflects the trend towards larger tyres on new car models and changes in the composition of the car parc, with a greater share of SUVs. The replacement market reflects the changes in the original equipment segment, albeit with a lag.
The latest GfK data based on its tyre retail sell-out sources – what it refers to as its panalemarket – shows that UHP tyre sizes, especially above 17″, continued to represent a growing market in 2019. The analyst compared UHP tyres, here defined as 17” and above, in the period from January 2018 to December 2018 with January 2019 to December 2019. The first column shows that 17” takes a share of the total tyre market of just over one-fifth (21 per cent). 17” has been a popular size for many years, benefitting from the transition of more compact cars onto higher rim sizes. However, growth in 17” dimensions has now plateaued, with this figure representing no change on the previous year’s data.
Continuing our series investigating UK Police fleet tyre demand, we looked a little closer at the differences between the various regional forces tyre preferences. Despite the fact that, as we have seen, tyre purchasing is based on a national framework agreement, there was a surprising amount of variety in both tyre policy and what actually happened when the rubber hit the road, so to speak.