The Inverness based tyre wholesaler acquired as part of Bond International’s recent deal to acquire Stepgrades Motor Accessories Limited from Halfords Group is forming a joint venture with long term Bond customer Goodtread Tyre Co, based in Alness in the Scottish Highlands. The two parties said the JV would strengthen their tyre distribution operations covering north and west Scotland and the islands, increasing the availability of stock as a result of Bond’s large stockholding, improving warehousing, and modernising Bond’s newly acquired Birkenshaw Distributors Ltd. Sandy MacKenzie and Mark Kelman from Goodtread Tyre Co will head the joint Inverness operation.
Following the news that Bond International is set to acquire the Viking tyre wholesale business, Halfords Group executives have confirmed to Tyres & Accessories that, Bond will indeed acquire the Viking and Birkenshaw tyre wholesale businesses. At the same time, Halfords Group commercial director/director Halfords Commercial Fleet Services, Robin Shaw clarified that the Bond acquisitions only include the McConechy’s warehouse in Warrington which came into the Halfords group as part of its McConechy’s acquisition in 2019. Meanwhile, Halfords continues to invest in its Commercial Fleet Services operations which have grown out of Halfords’s acquisitions of the members of ULM – Universal, Lodge and McConechy’s.
Well-known tyre wholesale business Bond International was growing fast before the latest acquisitions were announced, but now the company has agreed to purchase Stepgrades Motor Accessories Limited trading as Viking Wholesale Tyres, Birkenshaw Distributors Limited and McConechey’s Commercial Fleet Services, growth will be considerably faster. All three Stepgrades businesses have been acquired from Halfords Group Plc as part of a deal which will see Bond International partner with Halfords to distribute tyres to all of their network. Moving forward, company representatives suggested that there will “further announcements” as the company looks to expand its operation in Scotland, where the business previously had limited exposure.
Tony Neil, former CEO of Axle Group, is joining Autogem as a strategic advisor, with plans to significantly grow the company in the coming years. The appointment adds significant expertise and strength to the senior management team, headed up by brothers Prashant and Adit Chopra.
According to research conducted by Opinium for Halfords, 54 per cent of motorists are wrongly told they must get their vehicle serviced at a dealership to protect their warranty. The truth is that, under UK law, motorists can get their vehicles serviced anywhere from the moment they drive off the forecourt.
Halfords Groups reports that its “strong” first-half 2024 financial performance was driven by “substantial revenue and profit growth through increased market share” and “optimisation of our Autocentres business”. And that means we can expect accelerated capital investment in Autocentres moving forward.
Van rental company Redde Northgate has reportedly presented a £1.4 billion merger to Halfords. According to multiple reports, the two companies have held “detailed talks”. Redde Northgate owns 130,000 vans and corporate cars in the UK and Spain.
Financial analysts have responded positively to the news of Bridgestone’s investment in Halfords Group’s Avayler Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Their analysis also reveals further details of the current scale and future plans associated with the Avayler business.
Bridgestone has invested US$3 million dollars in buying a 5 per cent stake in Halfords Group Plc’s Avayler Software as a service (SaaS) business. The investment therefore values the two-year-old Avayler business at $60 million. Under the associated commercial agreement, which has an initial term of 15 years notwithstanding certain break clauses, Avayler will provide Bridgestone with access to Avayler’s in-garage and van software products as well as certain services to facilitate Bridgestone’s use of it. These include services relating to maintenance, development, implementation and support. The commercial agreement provides for the roll-out of Avayler’s products across Bridgestone’s retail and van operation in the USA.
Yodel, one of the UK’s leading parcel carriers, has awarded a five-year tyre management contract to Halfords Commercial Fleet Services. Halfords Commercial Fleet Services’ position as the UK’s largest commercial service network with 104 depots and over 500 dedicated mobile vans was cited as a major factor behind decision.
Earlier this year we found that Halfords Autocentres is neck-and-neck with Kwik-Fit for the title of largest car tyre retailer in the UK, with 650 centres a piece. However, what that figure doesn’t tell you is just how influential the company’s commercial vehicle tyre business has become. Tyres & Accessories recently met up with Halfords Commercial Fleet Services director, Greg Ward in order to find out.
Following on from our analysis of the leading tyre retail web sites of bricks and mortar businesses, we now turn our attention to tyre e-tail operations. As it did in the retail side of things, Halfords once again tops this table, but with the integrated Halfords Autocentres name out of the equation, this time we were able to break down the component parts and quantify that traffic (see chart and separate breakdown column). That breakdown clearly shows two things: firstly, the scale of the different Halfords online tyre retail operations; and secondly, that Halfords acquisition of Axle Group Holdings/National Tyres brought significant online assets with it.
There’s no denying that the tyre business has become more digital and connected than ever before, but there are a number of sides to that equation. We know that between 60 and 80 per cent of tyre-buying consumers were doing pre-sale research online before the pandemic. Similarly, industry insiders have been saying that 10 per cent of tyres are bought online for something like a decade now. But anecdotal evidence from tyre retailers themselves reveals that, amongst those working for the large chains at least, many customers walk through the door to receive a tyre change that has already been booked online. Apparently, some of the younger generation just walk in and hold up a QR code on their phone! This month’s Tyres & Accessories looked into these kinds of questions, asking what it means for the tyre business to be digitally native. And it starts with a brand-new ranking of the leading tyre retail, e-tail and tyre comparison websites.
Halfords has attended its first on-ground tyre safety event, marking its tenth anniversary as a member of TyreSafe. The company provided free tyre safety checks to motorists in Blackburn on Friday 28 July at ASDA. Aiming to champion tyre safety and raise awareness of crucial tyre checks in the local community, 75 per cent of tyres received advisories, with perishing a major issue alongside the more commonly understood inflation and tread depth defects. Halfords has recently extended its involvement with the tyre safety organisation, appointing Morgan Jamison, its head of marketing, to the TyreSafe Steering Committee.
Halfords head of marketing Morgan Jamison has been appointed to the TyreSafe Steering Committee. TyreSafe said Jamison has a “wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the importance of how safe tyres impact on road safety issues.” In his new role, the tyre safety organisation said Jamison would “play a pivotal role in shaping strategic initiatives, fostering collaborations, and driving positive change within the industry.” He will also “play a significant role in shaping strategic initiatives, fostering collaborations, and driving positive change within the industry.” Halfords recently reached the 10-year milestone as a member of TyreSafe, which has been at the forefront of promoting tyre safety for more than two decades. It advocates for safe driving practices to ensure the wellbeing of road users through the collective effort of reducing collisions and injuries caused by defective tyres.