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.
The First Stop network has appointed Brenden Marais as south region retail business consultant. Marais previously held roles at Euro Car Parts (general manager and operations manager over the past six years) and The Parts Alliance (account manager).
First Stop has added a new outlet in Taunton, as automotive equipment supplier Hickleys joins the fast fit network. After growing to a total of 72 centres by the end of 2016, First Stop is continuing to evolve and expand via a new approach to recruitment. First Stop’s retail business consultant Ollie Turpie is targeting businesses not currently boasting a tyre retail arm. Hickleys, based in Castle Street, offers a broad range of automotive solutions, from diagnostic equipment right through to heating and air conditioning installations.
The doors have opened on the new ATS Euromaster centre in Altrincham set up following the compulsory acquisition of the company’s Oakfield Street site. The fast fit network invested more than £320,000 in the new 7,500 square foot facility, which is located in the Blue Chip Business Park in Atlantic Street.
The Kwik Fit Group has agreed a partnership deal that sees the Kwik Fit tyre retail and fast-fit brand expand into Italy. Under the terms of the agreement, 200 centres are set to open over the next decade.
The expansion is based on a franchise agreement with CDG-ONE, part of Segema S.p.A., a leading tyre distribution group in Italy. Segema imports and distributes Yokohama tyres in Italy through Yokohama Italia S.p.A. and GiTi Tyres through Magri Gomme S.p.A.
ATS Euromaster has opened a new flagship facility in Dartford’s Matrix Business Centre on Victoria Road. The network has invested more than £320,000 in this new site, including the most recent tyre fitting, maintenance and vehicle diagnostic equipment. ATS-E stated it selected the 6,000sqft site for its strategic location, bordering East London, close to the A2 and M25. The centre will provide an extended range of fast-fit services, including batteries, brakes, exhausts, oil top-ups, shocks, fault diagnostics and air-conditioning servicing, as well as its tyre services.
Mobivia and Point S have agreed a procurement alliance. According to the two companies, this strategic alliance will cover the listing and sourcing of the products ranges purchased by both Groups – that is tyres and car parts – for the markets they cover. However, while the two organisations are working together in terms of purchasing, under the terms of the alliance each group remains autonomous when it comes to the management of its network, policies and development.
Micheldever Tyre Services’ wholesale business, worth £230 million in annual sales, has taken significant steps to support the on and offline operations of its independent tyre dealer customers in 2015. The added value of MTS’ services has become increasingly important in the light of continued growth in the number of retail branches controlled by the top 20 multiples (as noted in our Tyre Retail feature in the May magazine), and the increased online competition provided by internet specialists, big retail brands from within and outside the traditional tyre sector, and now, with Michelin’s acquisition of Blackcircles.com, major tyre manufacturers themselves. Alan Baldwin, sales director at Micheldever Tyre Services, told Tyres & Accessories, “I’m confident that there isn’t another wholesaler, distributor, and in many cases, manufacturer, in the UK that invests as much money, time and resources in supporting dealers as we do.”
Software solutions and services provider incadea has entered into an agreement with Michelin to deploy its incadea.fastfit tyre business management solution in more than 2,000 Tyreplus retail sites throughout China by 2018.
Trend Tracker, formed in 2003 to provide accurate and informed automotive industry research, calculates the retail service, maintenance and repair market’s worth has risen by almost £1 billion since the 2008 recession. This is inevitably resulting in greater interest in the segment, which is increasing the desire of vehicle manufacturers (VMs) to compete for this business. AMOnline has recently reported on the efforts of some car manufacturers to take a bigger slice of that market, giving a synopsis of what measures various VMs are taking.
Car owners prefer the independent sector to franchised dealers for servicing and MoTs according to new research from GForces. The results of the study, which sought the opinion of 2,000 car owners on a variety of aftersales topics, found over half of the respondents (50.3 per cent) used independent garages, compared with 34.1 per cent who use main dealers.
UK fast fit network First Stop has begun its 2015 investment programme with a facelift for its Halesowen centre. The 52 centre network has announced new locations and significant investment expected this year, with the re-launched, new-look garage on Overend Road the first to benefit from substantial investment. The centre boasts improved branding and equipment as a result of the renovation, with three other members – Horndean Tyres, Ashton Tyres & Exhausts and Thorntons Tyres – joining Halesowen in the early stages of the planned investment.
The Point S network is extending its European coverage to Slovakia following the establishment of Point S Slovakia s.r.o. The operation is a full subsidiary of Point S Hungary and employs dedicated local staff who will take care of the Point S network’s development and the management in Slovakia.
In a statement released today, Point S Development has confirmed the March 2014 cancellation of the master franchise contract signed with shareholders in the Netherlands in 2010. A new Dutch headquarters, Point S Holland, has now been created. The statement arrives a day after Wim Reijmerink – managing director of the now defunct Point S Nederland operation – told Tyres & Accessories that a number of former partners were holding discussions to form their own tyre dealer cooperative.
For many years Point S Development has been coated in the glossy sheen of constant growth, but now a scratch has appeared in this growth story – and more than a dab of polish is needed to buff it out. The organisation’s Dutch operation is in acute danger of splitting in two as many local Point S partners consider the return on their master franchise fee too low, they see too little support coming from the company’s international headquarters and no real “European strategy”, and they wish to renegotiate their contracts. But the two shareholders in Point S Development – the national Point S organisations in France and Germany – appear uninterested in revising terms and conditions in the Netherlands, and therefore some Dutch partners are negotiating new franchise contracts elsewhere. Should Point S partners in other markets follow suit, we may see a process that results in no winners, rather only losers.