As if the Covid-related troubles combined with complex shipping challenges and rising raw material costs weren’t enough, Chinese government policy is now adding to the pressure on tyre manufacturers making tyres for export from the People’s Republic. Specifically, the Chinese central government environmental policy has led to power rationing across the country since mid-September, which has had a marked impact on manufacturing business including the tyre industry. Indeed, more than 20 tyre manufacturers have experienced power-rationing-related temporary shutdowns and/or have implemented price increases because of these product headwinds. And these are having a marked impact on tyre production.
Monday’s tyre test at France’s Paul Ricard circuit heralded the conclusion of Pirelli’s initial development programme for 18-inch Formula 1 tyres. Alpine’s Daniil Kvyat was in the seat for the wet test, finishing a programme disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The flagship global motorsport series will switch to the new low-profile tyres in 2022, shifting away from the 13-inch tyres currently used. Pirelli calls this move a technical revolution and has devoted an intense period of research and development to the change, with indoor and outdoor testing. The manufacturer will now tweak the tyre based on 2022-specification car testing.
The complexity of the UK tyre wholesale sector has certainly ramped up considerably thanks to what may be termed an almost perfect storm of external factors relating both to the Covid pandemic and Brexit. With retail margins on consumer tyres already very fine, the wholesale sector has been key in keeping price increases under control, especially considering the spiralling cost of shipping. But as those in the sector know, the value wholesalers add within the distribution chain is a considerably wider subject than purely price. Arguably, the service dimension has never been more important than in the last 18 months, as retail businesses adapted to a market transformed by externalities. Tyres & Accessories asked Graham Mitchell, Micheldever Tyre Services wholesale director, about how the business is faring in 2021, starting with its performance this year.
Following the news that Formula One Autocentres can now count 124 garages in its growing network after the addition of its Spalding branch on 13 October 2021, company representatives have confirmed that they are aiming to grow the network to at least 135 autocentres by the end of 2022.
The practice of pairing wide rear tyres with a narrower size on the front axle is a common one for modern performance cars as this configuration provides good traction and cornering on dry roads, more even levels of wear – and it looks good. But is a mixed fitment advantageous in the colder months? Do the wider rear tyres really deliver more traction on icy and snowy roads and reduce the risk of oversteer? German publication Sportauto has sought to answer such questions by comparing mixed fitment winter tyres with a non-mixed setup.
BA Bush & Son has continued to progress its expansion plans with the acquisition of Rotherham based tyre company Allround Tyres. As the latest part of the tyre distribution and servicing group, BA Bush said the company will continue to offer tyres, exhausts, and batteries as well as vehicle servicing, repairs, diagnostics, and MOTs. Allround Tyres also offers a mobile fitting service to the local area.
NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay’s NTDA Tyre Industry Conference 2021 speech covered a range of pressing topics, that – due to the impact of the pandemic and its associated lockdowns – couldn’t be addressed in-person before now: key worker lobbying, climate change and the importance of training and technicians were amongst the main topics.
The National Tyre Distributors Association has presented a bumper crop of awards during its 92nd Annual Dinner in Birmingham. In the headline awards, Merityre was made the Overall Tyre Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Pirelli Tyres, Bridgestone took first place in Tyre Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by The Commercial Vehicle Show, while Stapleton’s Tyre Services became 2021’s Tyre Wholesaler of the Year, sponsored by Compilator / Team Systems. Tyrepress reported the announcement of the award winners, in addition to the day’s Tyre Industry Conference, live via Twitter.
Happy birthday, Continental. The German tyre maker and technology company is 150 years old today, making it one of the oldest companies both in Germany and within the automotive business. One and a half centuries after starting out as a maker of rubber products for horse-drawn vehicles, the firm still specialises in the latest modes of transport and is positioning itself to meet future challenges.
The 2021 Tyre Industry Conference is underway in Birmingham today after the pandemic caused a temporary break from the in-person event in 2020. Proceedings began with NTDA chief executive, Stefan Hay introducing the event and speakers via a wide-ranging introductory speech covering: key worker lobbying, the importance of training and technicians and more.
Florent Menegaux and Yves Chapot will remain at the helm at Michelin for a further four years. The Société Auxiliaire de Gestion (SAGES), under the chairmanship of Vincent Montagne and in its capacity as a non-managing general partner of the Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin (CGEM), has decided to renew the mandates of Menegaux as a Managing General Partner and of Chapot as a General Manager.
Ferrari has chosen a custom version of Bridgestone’s new Potenza Sport ultra-high performance tyre for its new GT car. The tyre manufacturer collaborated with the supercar brand to produce bespoke rubber for the 620bhp, rear-wheel drive Ferrari Roma. The tyre is produced in the Bridgestone’s specialist Rome EMIA Technology and Innovation Centre, boasting the tyre-maker’s latest technologies, and is the result of close development work to fine-tune the all-round performance of the newly-launched Bridgestone tyre. It is supplied to the Ferrari Roma in 245/35ZR20 91Y and 285/35ZR20 (100Y) front and rear sizes.
Yokohama has appointed Gregorio Borgo as president and CEO of Yokohama´s European headquarters, Yokohama Europe GmbH. He succeeds the current president, Hiroyuki Shioiri, who becomes chairman of Yokohama Europe GmbH effective 10 October 2021.
Yokohama HPT, the manufacturer’s UK operation, has made changes in two key senior roles. Nick Greenfield has been named the new managing director, taking over from David Seward, who has moved into a new role as commercial adviser. Brian Philpott has taken over as financial director, with Trevor Melsom taking on the position of financial adviser. Both appointees bring with them a wealth of experience gained within the company and the wider industry.
European Tyre Enterprise Ltd (ETEL), which owns both Kwik Fit and Stapleton’s, will rebrand 60 of its Tyre City retail centres as either Kwik Fit or STS Tyre Pros as the company focuses on those two retail channels. According to the company, the decision follows a strategic review over the last few months, which found that ETEL should “simplify its retail operations and operate under two brands, Kwik Fit and STS Tyre Pros”. The transition of the centres to their new brands has begun and will continue over the coming weeks.