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.
With tyre specialists doing as much mechanical work as ever, and with autocentres representing a growing proportion of the top 25 tyre retailers, understanding the so-called aftermarket side of the business is important. When you add in the pandemic-related disruption, which includes the effects of the government’s six-month MOT extension – something that has caused a mini-boom and bust in the garage space – getting to grips with the latest trends and products in the aftermarket sector at this particular time is something of a priority. That’s why in this section July’s edition of Tyres & Accessories surveys the latest data, trends and products to help you prepare for what’s next. Our aftermarket feature starts with an analysis of the full-year 2020 MOT data from a tyre demand perspective.
The tyre industry and UK government have produced a best practice guide for van operators and drivers. The guide, available on the British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association website, has been produced to help improve roadworthiness and reduce the risk of tyre-related incident. It is in part a response to the latest data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which shows defective tyres remain consistently the primary reason for roadside prohibitions. They account for between 15 and 22 per cent of these potentially instantaneous bans of the vehicle’s use. Other categories of prohibitions, such as Lamps and Reflectors account on average no more than 7 per cent or 8 per cent, with the majority averaging 4 per cent.
On 1 February 2021, new legislation banning tyres aged over 10 years on the front steered axles of lorries, buses and coaches along with all single wheels of minibuses (9-16 passengers seats) came into force. The ban also includes horseboxes over 3.5 tonnes.
More motorists are booking joint MOT and service procedures and MOT failures rates are expected to increase, according to service and repair shops. Indeed, demand for combined MOT and service procedures increased almost 50 per cent last month (48%), according to BookMyGarage.com. Meanwhile, MOT-only bookings were down in February compared with February 2020
2020 provided a turbulent 12 months for the humble MOT. At the start of the year, the centralised testing conducted on the island of Ireland was thrown into disarray after faulty vehicle lifts were found on both sides of the border. It also raised questions about the wisdom of centralised approach in comparison of the de-centralised model used across Great Britain. Of course, all this took place while Covid-19 was still a Far Eastern problem. And yet, before the first quarter was out, national lockdowns had resulted in the deployment a six-month extension of the MOT renewal date, which had the knock-on effect of causing an MOT boom in the last quarter of 2020. The last cars to make use of the extension had their testing date deferred to the end of January 2021, so that complex chapter in the history of the MOT is now over. It also means that we have a chance to learn what happened. At the same time, the latest full-year 2019/2020 DVSA vehicle testing data has now been released, so we can also learn more about how last year’s projections compared with the end results in the months preceding the pandemic and what this might mean in terms of tyre demand.
In December 2020, the DVSA shared details of the new secure way to log into the MOT testing system (MTS) via smartphone. Chris Price, Head of MOT policy, has further explained that, from mid-February 2021, testers will be able to log into MTS using an authentication app on your smartphone.
Less than two weeks before the new 10-year-old tyre ban takes effect and two weeks after DVSA updated its definition of the rules, the Department for Transport (DfT) has released new guidance on how to understand the legislation as well as a summary of the corresponding penalties.
Today (Monday 11 January 2021), the DVSA updated its MOT guidance to clarify that “MOT centres can stay open in all areas of Great Britain, including during the national lockdown in England, the temporary lockdown in Scotland, and all of Wales in alert level 4 (lockdown)”. The same guidance always specifies that motorists are still required to get an MOT and there is no MOT exemption this time. As a result, garages across the UK should ensure that customers know that tyre fitting, vehicle repair and MOT services are permitted during the latest lockdown restrictions. At the same time, motorists need to know that there is no MOT exemption.
Following the news that the law relating to old tyres has changed, the DVSA has updated its guidance documents. DVSA, the body that oversees the nation’s MOT roadworthiness tests, re-asserted that tyres aged over 10 years on the front axles of lorries, buses, coaches and all single wheels of minibuses (9 to 16 passenger seats) are banned from 1 February 2021.
The British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (BTMA) is launching a comprehensive update of its guide to tyre management for heavy commercial vehicles. According to the association, the newly-revised edition is the fruit of close collaboration between experts from tyre manufacturers and the DVSA. It also includes valuable contributions from the vehicle operator associations.
The British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association has welcomed new legislation to enforce the tyre labelling regulation from 1 January using civil sanctions. The Department for Transport (DfT) appointed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Compliance Unit as enforcement authority earlier in 2020, replacing the National Measurement Office. To date, the DfT has conducted 68 “mystery shopper” visits, finding 78 per cent of tyre retailers were not compliant with the requirement to provide the labelling information.
It isn’t news to say that the tyre and autocentre sector is becoming an increasingly technological business. However, two recent trends confirm the need for garages to be properly equipped – increasing electric vehicle take-up and, in the short term, booming MOT demand.
This article, including a chart to support the analysis, appears in full in the November edition of Tyres & Accessories magazine. Not yet a subscriber? You can change that here.
On 7 August the government shared some results from its recent type approval consultation. That four-week consultation period came to an end on 26 June 2020 and sought views from across the automotive industry relating to what statutory instrument should supersede European type approval Regulation (EU) 2018/858, which covers new vehicle safety. The result? Low performing car tyres and van tyres will be illegal from 1 May 2021. The government type approval consultation supports 30-month grace period for running down such stocks. And OBD ports will remain open for independent garages to access repair and maintenance information.