We’ve all had to adapt during the corona-crisis and lockdown. For many tyre retailers it has meant agonising decisions relating to either staying opening or shutting down. But some have found a middle way – mobile tyre fitting.
During our recent “Kick-starting your tyre business” Tyrepress webinar, Craig Sprigmore, retail director of HiQ; Graham Mitchell, wholesale director of Micheldever Tyre Services; Noel Pope, managing director of Merityre; and John Stone, founder and managing director of Stone Tyres discussed the role of mobile fitting in helping tyre businesses adapt to the new normal.
Continuing our series investigating UK Police fleet tyre demand, we looked a little closer at the differences between the various regional forces tyre preferences. Despite the fact that, as we have seen, tyre purchasing is based on a national framework agreement, there was a surprising amount of variety in both tyre policy and what actually happened when the rubber hit the road, so to speak.
During recent weeks and months, the coronavirus lockdown has seen miles-driven figures fall through the floor. However, some fleets don’t stop moving. And, as anyone who has clapped for our carers will tell you, the blue-light services have been as busy as ever. Of course, the medics, police and firefighters rely on tyre technicians to keep them mobile. So, with this in mind, and as part our June magazine’s Fleet Tyre feature, we have been investigating what the blue light fleet’s tyre demand really looks like.
Tyre distributors from across the country have come together to support the restarting of the tyre trade. Large and small retailers from St Helens to the South East worked together to produce the inaugural Tyrepress webinar entitled “Kick-starting your tyre business’.
Following the news that Goodyear has bought one of its largest and longest-established HiQ franchisees, Easy Tyre and Autocare, Tyrepress got in touch with executives in order to find out more. For example, how much money changed hands? And, considering the latest purchase is the second acquisition of its kind, is Goodyear planning to go full-circle with retail ownership? The short answer is no. But a Goodyear/HiQ spokesperson did say “the acquisition of Easy Tyre and Autocentres further strengthens the competitive advantage of Goodyear and HiQ”, adding:
Goodyear Tyres UK Limited has acquired Easy Tyre and Autocentres, which runs 17 HiQ branches as a franchisee.
Easy Tyre and Autocentres’ branches span from Telford to Kettering, in a geographical area with a high value car parc and, according to Goodyear, represent the “second step” in the company’s ongoing retail strategy. All sites will become Goodyear’s equity operating under the HiQ brand going forward.
First Stop has recruited Mark Widdows to the senior position of UK retail network manager after working with Goodyear Dunlop for 20 years, where he latterly served as national franchise manager for the HiQ network. The recruitment is seen as a statement of intent, as First Stop aims to grow its network and position itself as a major player in the fast-fit sector.
After years of expansion amongst the top 20 UK tyre retailers, the latest data shows that this trend peaked in 2017/2018 when the top 20 accounted for 2014 branches. The same 20 tyre retailers had 1980 branches between them in 2018/2019. And what’s more, the reorganisation of one retailer alone accounted for a 40-centre decline in branch count, with the overall figure remaining positive due to growth at other chains. Here Tyres & Accessories analyses the branch count data in the context of 10 years of comparable research.
Via its Standards Programme, HiQ Tyres and Autocare aims to drive a high level of attention to detail in every aspect of the fast fit and automotive business. In order to verify the standards achieved by its franchisees, the fast-fit network audits all centres and awards top performers accordingly. This year, HiQ has awarded Gold Standards Awards to 47 per cent of its franchise centres throughout the UK.
Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK has acquired Weeting Tyres, a leading tyre retail company based in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, UK. The company operates four branches as a franchisee in Goodyear’s HiQ autocare network – in Bury St Edmunds, Chelmsford, Ipswich & Kings Lynn – as well as one independent branch in Brandon, Suffolk, which also functions as its head office. The area served by the latter branch is described as having a high value car parc. All sites will become Goodyear’s equity operating under the HiQ brand following the completion of the acquisition.
Goodyear supported October’s Tyre Safety Month by checking the tyre treads of more than 850 vehicles on Birmingham Business Park, supported by local tyre and autocare centre, HiQ Easy Autos. A team of eight trained Goodyear and HiQ Easy Autos employees took to the car parks of several businesses on the park including Rolls Royce, Arval, Adecco and SSP to measure the tread depths on vehicles, leaving an advice leaflet on every car checked.
HiQ Tyres and Autocare has been nominated for the 2018 Tyre Retailer of the Year award at the annual NTDA Tyre Industry Awards on 4 October.
According to the company, key reasons for the nomination include the retailer’s strong digital strategy in 2018, levels of support functions available to all franchisees, community engagement and integration, and the ongoing charitable efforts supported by the entire network.
In last year’s ranking of the top tyre retailers in the UK, Tyres & Accessories predicted that the pace of change in the top 20 chains by branch count would result in some jostling for position. This has proved entirely accurate, as two major acquisitions have brought two of 2017’s top 20 into the fold of higher ranked companies, leading to both Micheldever/Protyre, leapfrogging HiQ into fourth place as predicted last year, and Lodge Tyre, into the top 10 from joint-14th last year, making significant jumps in this year’s table. Most other retailers have held relatively stable positions in terms of the number of stores, while our most recent additions to the table, Eden Tyres (15 stores) and Elite Garages (13) were identified as narrowly missing out on places last year.