One of Bicester’s oldest and most popular tyre centres has become the latest independent garage to join the First Stop network. The Victoria Road garage is benefitting from new signage, marketing and social media support, and a broader range of premium tyres already in place. It has also added an MOT station and the latest vehicle diagnostic equipment, worth thousands of pounds. Grip Tyres has provided tyre services to the town’s motorists for around 27 years. First Stop said its popularity in the community was a compelling factor behind the network’s initial approach.
Bridgestone’s tyre retail network First Stop and telematics provider Webfleet Solutions will jointly support the World’s Fastest Shed. First Stop is sponsoring Guinness World Record holder Kevin Nicks and his road-legal outbuilding. Webfleet Solutions has installed its Webfleet fleet management software on the unusual vehicle.
As mentioned on Tyrepress.com yesterday, the future of tyre making at the site of Bridgestone’s recently-closed Béthune in France has been secured by a deal signed this month between major European vehicle maintenance and mobility firm Mobivia and French retreading specialist Black Star. With support from Bridgestone, the partners are gearing up to retread car, SUV and light commercial vehicle tyres in Béthune – products that Bridgestone intends to sell through selected retail outlets.
First Stop has invested £20,000 overhauling the visuals of one of its latest independent partners. Eastern Tyres, based in Fronks Road, Harwich has teamed up with First Stop to undergo an extensive facelift. The centre’s owners, Paul Eagle and Troy Wrenn, whose business only became a First Stop member a matter of weeks ago, hope to clip the wings of competitor garages in future.
First Stop has teamed up with a London-based firm of property developers to source and secure 20 prime retail development opportunities in a bid to attract new franchisees to its tyre and autocare network.
With a pandemic, an MOT extension and three lockdowns to contend with, describing the last year as “difficult” would be an understatement. Nevertheless, tyre retailers have demonstrated that they are not only key workers essential to keeping the British Isles rolling, but also versatile and resilient businesspeople during the last 12 months. A quick look at the top 25 UK tyre retail chains 2021 table reveals that it has been a more eventful year than normal in terms of branch openings and closings, but overall the clear message is one of consolidation. As a result, the top 25 UK tyre retail chains wield more power than ever. Specifically, the top 25 now run 2528 branches between them. When our coverage of this area began back at the end of the 2008/2009 tax year, the figure was 1978. During the interim, the rough estimate for the total number of tyre retailers national has stayed stable at around 10,000 specialists (that number is roughly double that if you include general garages). This means the top 25 occupy roughly 25 per cent of the number of branches, up 6 percentage points since 2009.
First Stop has unveiled its “most advanced automotive centre” in Weston-super-Mare. The state-of-the-art depot in Aisecome Way offers a broad range of services, including tyre replacements, alignment, fixed-price servicing and an MOT bay fully equipped for cars, vans and motorcycles. Centre manager Dan Radford and his three colleagues are all from the local area. They say it is a “privilege to work” at the centre with its “second-to-none” facilities.
Bridgestone’s First Stop retail network is offering Techman Pro as part of its franchise programme in the UK. According to Bridgestone, First Stop TechMan Pro creates “greater levels of professionalism across its forecourts thanks to real-time digital reporting – including personalised camera and video analysis – as well as data on workshop efficiencies, in a win-win for customers and dealers alike”. First Stop has hailed the technology as “a game-changing addition to its existing dealer package”, adding that it will play an integral role in helping the network grow to 220 centres by 2024.
The First Stop network has completed its support team for new and existing partners with the recruitment of two further retail business consultants. The First Stop area map for Britain is now fully populated with the appointments of Nick Salt (Northern England and Scotland) and Shaun Sweeney (South West England and South Wales).
First Stop Tyre & Car Services has revealed its striking new rebrand at a flagship store in Birmingham. The Auto Workshop, headed up by father-and-son team Steve and Graham Todd, has become First Stop’s latest partner. Five new jobs have b
Pilgrim Tyres Plymouth is rebranding its premises after leaving the HiQ network and joining First Stop Tyres & Car Services. Describing the transition as “an ambitious decision”, company representatives said:
First Stop Tyre & Car Services has appointed Nikki McCluney as its new marketing manager.
Formerly HiQ’s marketing manager, McCluney brings with her over 25 years marketing experience across automotive, fast fit and retail brands having previously worked for Goodyear Dunlop, Maxxis Tyres and Halfords. Indeed, she played a key role at the HiQ rebrand while at Goodyear Dunlop in 2007 and launched the chain’s concept store while in the role.
The newly created network will be made up of 160 Bridgestone locations, 240 franchisees and at least eight resale platforms. Bridgestone acquired Ayme & Fils in 2017 and has also been active in France with the Speedy autocentre/fast-fit business since 2016.