Welcome to the first of a new series of articles, in which leading executives give their insights into matters affecting today’s tyre industry. We begin the series with Gary Oliver; Chairman of Grouptyre, the national network of independent wholesalers. In the article we discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the business, new automotive innovations and long-term trends, and current attitudes towards tyre distribution.
Oak Tyres is marking 40 years in business – and of consecutive years of “sales growth” in 2020. The independently owned company, which is a founder member of Grouptyre, says that its sustained progress is down to its service-led philosophy: “If we provide a better service than our competitor, great things will happen” – its guiding statement since its establishment in 1980. Today, Oak has become one of the largest independent tyre wholesalers in the UK. It has more than 500,000 sq ft of warehouse space across its Haydock, St Helens, Manchester, Leeds and Tyne and Wear sites. In the last decade in particular, Oak’s distribution of two successful brands from the Far East – Landsail and Evergreen, both exclusively distributed – has supported impressive market penetration for both. Since 2015, Oak has established its own global private tyre brand, Davanti, which at the last count is present in more than 60 countries.
South-East Grouptyre member, Grouptyre Wholesale Ltd has opened the doors to a new state of the art warehousing facility in Potter’s Bar, Hertfordshire. The wholesaler, which covers a wide area across the South East, including London and the Home Counties, states that it had outgrown the satellite facility in Brentwood, Essex and decided Potters Bar was the ideal location for the move, with easy links to the A1, M1, M25, M40 and M11 motorways.
Grouptyre’s extensive range of exclusive “margin brand” products include car tyres by Goodride, Constancy, and Rapid, in addition to Landsail and Evergreen. These competitively priced products come with dealer support packages, access to exclusive dealer promotions, point of sale material, and merchandise as part of their customer support.
Renault Clio Cup racer Dan Zelos has been supported by Evergreen Tyres for half a decade. The partnership started in karting, and has continued to Zelos’ current drive in the Renault Clio Cup. The tyre brand states that its support for Zelos is motivated both by the marketing opportunity it offers and by helping a young driver achieve his ambitions.
The leading growth in new car sales of SUVs has led to a surge in demand for tyres in this lucrative market. While premium tyre manufacturers have naturally led the way in this segment, meeting the demands of their original equipment customers, themselves expanding and innovating in the segment to offer greater choice to consumers, sub-premium manufacturers have followed suit, giving wholesalers the opportunity to distribute higher margin products, and create a tiered range of products to address this segment.
Grouptyre founding member BA Bush has opened two new sites in Norwich and Knaresborough, helping towards its three-year growth plan and adding strategic locations. The two new sites represent the company’s first stage of growth, with further new sites planned before the end of 2019. The group says it is targeting a £60 million turnover in 2018.
Large investments in research and technology over the last few years have enabled Grouptyre’s exclusive brands to develop some excellent alternatives within the competitive high performance market at realistic and affordable prices. The wholesaler notes that tyre retailers are demanding increased diversity in the high performance market to meet the wide range of consumer demands at all price points.
Grouptyre has continued to invest in warehousing – overall it has 40 local/regional warehouses operated individually by its 10 regional members – and its e-commerce system, GroupLink, this year. The group reports a turnover of more than £310m, and collectively employs more than 1,200 people, of which 42 are business development managers; three regional sales managers cover the country. A nationwide fleet of more than 450 vans make, on average, deliveries to tyre retailers at least twice a day, with greater frequency and on-demand deliveries in some areas.
Grouptyre founding member Bush Tyres is celebrating 70 years in business this year. The family-owned company has earned a reputation as Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire’s leading independent tyre specialist, in both retail and wholesale, with its place within Grouptyre helping to form a nationally successful business.
Evergreen Tyres’ recent relaunch of its Dyna range includes two key SUV/4×4 patterns; the DynaControl ES880 and the DynaComfort ES380. The Dyna range was introduced in 2016 with redesigned tread patterns and tyre constructions. The brand states that the result of this is improvement in steering, fuel efficiency, all weather grip and road noise, important performance characteristics to the UK market.
Leading independent national wholesaler Grouptyre offers a wide range of high performance and ultra-high performance tyres from all the major manufacturers. Massive developments in research and technology over the last few years, has enabled Grouptyre’s exclusive brands to develop alternatives within this competitive market at realistic and affordable prices.
Landsail tyres, which are exclusively distributed by Grouptyre in the UK, are being marketed as “the smart choice” for UK SUV drivers. Within the highly competitive SUV/4×4 sector, Landsail offers a range of sizes – among them the CLV1 and CLV2.
Grouptyre held its annual National Sales Conference in mid-January at the Holiday Inn just off the M6 in Birmingham. Hosted by Paul Hollows, Grouptyre’s commercial director, the meeting gave the organisation the opportunity to present its 2017 plans to its sales teams, who had converged on Birmingham from all corners of the UK. The Conference was opened by Grouptyre chairman Gary Oliver, who in his opening address touched on the constant challenges which we all face not only in the industry, but the wider world.