For the fourth year in a row, Michelin can be found at the top of Tyres & Accessories’ 2020 UK social media ranking. Indeed, such is Michelin’s dominance in the annual table, only Goodyear (in 2012) and Dunlop (in 2016) have done enough to overtake the UK arm of the French tyre brand since our research began in 2011. In both cases, Michelin still managed to take second place.
This autumn could bring with it a new rash of tyre dumping and site abandonment warns Britain’s Tyre Recovery Association (TRA). The association has warned that there are several factors of which the public, our regulators and the tyre trade should be aware. The TRA’s latest comments follow a previous warning that market conditions were likely to have such consequences earlier in the year.
The exact timing for a return to a pre-2020 kind of normalcy is anyone’s guess, and this uncertainty makes event planning a risky undertaking. The organisers of tyre exhibition The Tire Cologne are therefore hedging their bets by combining the traditional trade fair format with a virtual show. Both are scheduled to take place between 18 and 20 May 2021.
The Nürburgring 24 Hours is one of the last open tyre competitions in recent years. For Falken, it represents an opportunity to compete on track against top global premium brands, like Michelin, Goodyear and Yokohama. In the last decade Falken road tyre technology it has narrowed the performance gap, evidenced by improved results in third party tyre tests.
Three leading European motoring associations have published the results of their joint 2020 winter car tyre test. The ADAC from Germany, Austria’s ÖAMTC and Swiss club TCS looked at 15 brands of tyre. While they didn’t award any of the evaluated products their top ratings of ‘very good’ (ADAC) or ‘excellent’ (ÖAMTC, TCS), the clubs noted that overall test results were positive. In addition to five strong performers, seven further tyres were recommended and one conditionally recommended. Only two tyres failed to make the grade.
The UK’s largest tyre retailer, Kwik Fit, is being prepared for a sale. The Japanese Itochu group, which owns the European Tyre Enterprises Ltd (ETEL) holding company that controls both Kwik Fit and its wholesale counterpart Stapleton’s Tyre Services, has appointed investment bankers Nomura to advise on strategic options for the company, according to Sky News, with insiders suggesting a sale is very likely.
Landsail Tyres is the new Official Tyre Partner of Leicester City. The Sentury Tire brand has signed a multi-year deal with the Premier League football club, starting this season. The brand has excellent penetration in the UK tyre market, distributed by Grouptyre, and is present in more than 100 countries globally. It says the partnership with Leicester City is part of its strategic development plan. It will be “a core pillar of its marketing strategy.” The brand hopes to benefit from enhanced exposure across Leicester City’s digital channels as well as on matchdays at the King Power Stadium.
TyreSafe has launched its 2020 Tyre Safety Month campaign with its first online briefing. Following the success of its previous ‘Get Into The Groove’ campaign, TyreSafe has prepared a fresh batch of cultural parodies with which to publicise its ACT acronym – standing for Air pressure, Condition, Tread. A range of movie poster parodies, including ‘Judge Tread’, ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Under Inflated’, and ‘Done in 60 Seconds’, are available for garages, businesses and other organisations to encourage motorists to take better care of their tyres. The distribution of the materials will reflect the digitalisation trend of this year, driven by the necessity of adapting to Covid-19 Crisis conditions; a wide variety of banners formatted for each of the major social media networks will be available. The briefing featured a panel discussion with Stuart Lovatt, Highways England strategic road safety lead; Tony Crook, National Fire Chief Council lead officer road safety; Simon Turner, Driving for Better Business campaign manager; and James Luckhurst, Project EDWARD founder.
The Tyre Collective – winners of the James Dyson Awards 2020 – have designed a device to capture tyre particulate at source. According to the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ “Air Quality: Brake, Tyre and Road Surface Wear” report, tyre-wear accounts for nearly half of road transport particulate emissions. Furthermore, a reported half a million tonnes of tyre particles are produced annually in Europe alone, from vehicles accelerating, braking and cornering. As we move towards electric vehicles in the future, exhaust emissions will reduce but tyre particles will continue. The Tyre Collective estimate that tyre emissions may even increase, as electric vehicles become heavier due to the added battery weight. For both reasons, this year’s UK national James Dyson Award winners attempt to address this issue.
The president of the Hauts-de-France region has labelled Bridgestone’s planned closure of its Béthune tyre manufacturing plant “brutal” and a “premeditated assassination.” For good measure, Xavier Bertrand added “we are dealing with cynics and liars” in his strongly-worded response to Bridgestone’s announcement. In a joint statement with the French government, Bertrand’s Hauts-de-France Region called on the Bridgestone group to “assume its responsibilities,” alleging that the company’s divestment from and allocation of low-margin tyres to the Béthune plant over the last decade has “automatically” led to its deficit in competitiveness.
4×4 tyre sales may have fallen due to the effects of coronavirus and lockdown, but prices in certain key sizes are actually higher than they were before those challenges presented themselves at the start of the year. Tyres & Accessories spoke to tyre market and pricing data experts Encircle Marketing in order to learn the details.
When you break the data down by size, a number of interesting trends are immediately identifiable. Firstly, there was a clear pre-lockdown price fall in February. The average price of a 255/55 R19 V tyre, for example, fell almost £6 from £138.10 to £132.86 between January and February. However, the average price of this size recovered to a point higher than the January starting point in March (£138.90).
Bridgestone has announced its plan to close its Bethune plant in France. The manufacturer said that the measure is being used to reduce production overcapacity and to improve cost efficiency. The proposal could impact 863 employees. Bridgestone added that it is “fully aware of the social consequences of this project and is committed to using all means at its disposal to define support plans for each employee.” The earliest the closure would take place is the second quarter of 2021. Bridgestone’s presence in France would continue through sales and retail operations, in which it employs about 3,500, the company said.