On 5th April the consultant company had invited more than 150 experts from the car parts and accessories sectors for its third conference concerning the car component aftermarket. As tyres are counted as part this segment as well, trends from this part of the business were presented and discussed as well. In times where sales of new cars begin to drop, the importance of the aftermarket business begins to grow again. But on the other hand the competition in this field is fiercer than ever -due also to the internet and e-commerce. This was the reason why the event was subtitled “The good times are over – means for success in hard times”. And the topics of the internet and e-commerce were at least mentioned by almost every speaker, sometimes being even the main topic. These new media enable the industry to provide products directly to the end consumer, leaving behind the old traditions of trade via wholesaler and retailers.
German tyre dealer Reifen Mayerosch (Wolfersheim-Berstadt) has been awarded a quality seal by “Trusted Shops” for his online shop offer “komplettradkauf.de”. Trusted Shops examines the quality and security measures of internet shop companies.
“Tomorrow already, today will be yesterday” – there is hardly anything else coming so close to this fact than the internet. Whereas two years ago in Germany, the percentage of people being connected to the internet was around 9 per cent, this figure went up to 16 per cent in the last quarter of 1999 and achieved more than 20 per cent, i.e. 13.4 million online users by the end of March 2000. And, relying on market researchers, the peak is still far away. It is supposed that in Germany another 10 million people will use the internet by the end of the year. Thus, probably the number of people with particular homepages will continue to rise very quickly. Meanwhile, this fact has also got about in the tyre business, which can be underlined by the variety of companies who presented their websites on the REIFEN 2000 in Essen. Would it now be possible – after books, software and music – to download tyres, too? Of course, tyre dealers still have an advantage: there must always be someone for mounting the tyres. For certain reasons tyre dealers do not really want to get to like being in this position, as they often feel to be “degraded to service operators”. In this case, however, they should realize the opportunities of the internet for being able to “distinguish themselves as service operators”, although there is hardly anyone today, who can foresee the development of the tyre dealers’ business over the next five or ten years. Find out more in the November issue of NEUE REIFENZEITUNG.
Ford Motor Co are using the Internet to publicise their part in the Bridgestone/Firestone recall. A banner advert used on some 200 sites leads surfers to a comprehensive Ford run website publicising the recall and the details of the tyres involved, advises replacement tyres and authorised replacement dealers. The publicity has the potential to reach 564 million readers.
Tyre manufacturer Continental intends to engage itself more in the e-business arena – especially on the “B2C” (Business to Consumer) level. The company has therefore decided to begin cooperation concerning tyre distribution with “autobytel.com”, an independent US-American internet-platform which offers a complete car service to its customers covering the complete life cycle of the car. Working together with tyre retailers, a complete service package will be offered to customers. All retailers interested in this project will be given the opportunity to participate, even if they do not possess the necessary infrastructure at the moment. The two companies explained during a press conference in Frankfurt what they are going to do. Continental is initially investing about 15 million Euro, most of it for the creation of a “tyre portal”. At present the whole project exists only on paper but Continental wants to arrange the basics of this project by the end of February 2001, and the operative start is planned for autumn 2001. During the press conference, Conti CEO Kessel underlined his interests in working closely together with the professional tyre trade.
Delphi Automotive Systems is to participate in Cosivint, the internet purchase network of General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler. According to the Wall Street Journal, six or seven other companies will join during this week.
The National Tyre Distributors Association held its millennium conference in Portugal. Before the conference got under way, delegates were given the news that RapidFit had applied to join the association. The 300-strong chain of Ford dealers is the first of the vehicle dealerships to enter into membership. The keynote speaker at the conference was Sir Tom Farmer, one of whose points was that the association should consider becoming more commercial and explore the possibility of setting up a buying group for members. Other speakers explored the themes of the impact of e-commerce and the internet on tyre retailing and what tyre dealers can do to take advantage of the opportunities which are liable to arise in the future. The impact of legislation – existing and forthcoming – was another topic, including the implications of the proposed End of Life Vehicle Directive. There was a different format for the second day, when delegates broke into groups to discuss the three subjects of scrap tyre disposal, e-commerce and the changing face of tyre retailing, reflecting the previous day’s subjects. The group chairmen then reported back to the meeting and the conclusions were presented to the NTDA in order to guide the association as to its future strategic direction in these areas. Debate was lively and everyone agreed that the new format had been a resounding success.