Times have been tough in the last couple of years, but if the growth of the top 25 tyre retailers in the UK is anything to go by, the nation’s leading tyre retail businesses are taking triumph from adversity. Of course, Halfords’ acquisition of National Tyres and Autocare’s parent company at the end of 2021 makes up a big part of the new UK tyre retail landscape, but it is clear that adding branches to existing networks (either by organic growth or by acquisition) is a common theme across the board.
Results of a survey conducted on behalf of Kwik Fit suggest 69 per cent of motorists have changed their driving behaviour since the beginning of the year. Altered habits include cutting down on ‘non-essential’ car journeys, something 35 per cent of the 2,000 respondents admitted to doing. Drivers of petrol or diesel cars are almost twice as likely to cut down on such trips, with 40 per cent doing so as opposed to 22 per cent of electric vehicle (EV) drivers.
Kwik Fit will be an Official Partner at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard (23-26 June 2022). The UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair network debuted in this role in 2021, and has promised “an even greater presence at the world’s biggest celebration of motorsport and car culture.” Kwik Fit will showcase its British Touring Car Championship activities and its expertise in car repair and electric vehicle technology from a bespoke Kwik Fit Centre.
Following a successful pilot scheme, Kwik Fit is increasing product availability for customers who want to buy tyres that support sustainable rubber production and help protect the rainforests of Indonesia. The company is now offering three brands of tyre that tick these boxes.
After last month’s government announcement of a five year pause in the introduction of new smart motorways to assess their safety, new research reveals that an increasing number of drivers are taking their own precautionary measures when using smart stretches already in operation. According to a study conducted on behalf of Kwik Fit, 73% of drivers avoid driving on the hard shoulder of a smart motorway even when signs show it is open for traffic. This proportion has increased from 56% of drivers in 2019.
Despite the impact that pandemic restrictions have placed on face-to-face fundraising, over the last year Kwik Fit raised more than £300,000 for its charity partner Prostate Cancer UK. With Covid-19 restricting the options for fundraising, the programme has placed a greater focus on online activity and staff participating in virtual and individual events. These included a team of employees from the company’s Fleet and Mobile division completing a “round the world” trip – walking, running and cycling a total of 25,734 miles and raising over £18,000.
Road Hero is supplying its spare wheel solution to Kwik Fit. The deal means over 600 Kwik Fit centres are able to “both tailor and equip Road Hero kits for their customers, ensuring that the dread of getting a puncture when you travel becomes the stuff of mere inconvenience…”
Kwik Fit is marking National Apprenticeship Week with plans to expand its apprenticeship scheme and recruit more than 300 apprentices in 2022. Throughout the week beginning 7 February Kwik Fit will also be featuring current apprentices on its social media channels, enabling them to share their own experiences of the apprenticeship programme and why they opted for an automotive career.
Itochu’s European Tyre Enterprises Ltd (ETEL) business, which owns Kwik-Fit, Stapleton’s and now Murfitts Industries, posted a loss of 3.6 billion yen (£22.97 million; 27.54 million euros; US$31.55 million) for the financial year ended 31 March 2021. According to Itochu’s annual report, which was published on 17 December 2021, ETEL will return to break-even in full-year 2022 results.
Project TREE is the first attempt to establish natural rubber traceability using blockchain, and the UK is the first market where consumers can buy tyres containing verifiable sustainable rubber. Following the launch of traceable Pirelli tyres earlier this month, Hankook Tire & Technology is now distributing tyres manufactured through the project.
Following up the news that its parent company European Tyre Enterprise Ltd (ETEL) is acquiring leading tyre recycler Murfitts Industries, Kwik Fit shares some statistics that suggest not everyone understands the potential value of end-of-life tyres. According to the automotive parts and tyre network, fly tipping incidents have increased by a quarter in the past year.
European Tyre Enterprise Ltd (ETEL), which owns leading tyre retail and wholesale operations Kwik-Fit and Stapleton’s, has agreed the acquisition of Murfitts Industries, the country’s leading tyre recycling company. ETEL is buying 100 per cent of Murfitts Group Ltd, the parent company of Murfitts Industries. Murfitts operates a national network recycling the equivalent of around 20 million car tyres per year. Murfitts, which processes and recycles tyres into granulate, has been a long-term provider of post-consumer tyre collection and recycling services to ETEL.
Japan’s Itochu Corporation announced today the commercial launch of Project TREE, an initiative that uses a blockchain-based traceability system to ensure the sustainability and traceability of natural rubber. Partners participating in the Project include Itochu subsidiaries and tyre manufacturers, and the UK will be the first market to benefit.
On the one hand, most sources agree that online tyre demand is booming as a result of the pandemic and its related lockdowns. However, on the other hand, such rapid growth has also led to increased competition online. One way of finding which tyre firms are getting ahead in the online space is to consider the race for pole-position in Google search results. Since Google is the by far the biggest search engine online holding a dominant 92.47 per cent global market share as of June 2021 (87.7 per cent in the UK specifically), getting your brand ahead of the competition in search results makes a big difference. And paid search advertising, known as pay-per-click (PPC) – is one way to do that. In order to get a handle on the tyre retail sector’s virtual performance in 2021, Tyres & Accessories worked with SEO marketing specialists Evolved who analysed the organic search and PPC performance of the top 23 UK-based etailers and concluded that online specialist Blackcircles is taking ground from bricks and mortar market leader Kwik Fit, amongst other things.
The National Tyre Distributors Association has presented a bumper crop of awards during its 92nd Annual Dinner in Birmingham. In the headline awards, Merityre was made the Overall Tyre Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Pirelli Tyres, Bridgestone took first place in Tyre Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by The Commercial Vehicle Show, while Stapleton’s Tyre Services became 2021’s Tyre Wholesaler of the Year, sponsored by Compilator / Team Systems. Tyrepress reported the announcement of the award winners, in addition to the day’s Tyre Industry Conference, live via Twitter.