Major UK tyre wholesaler Micheldever Group has signed a pre-let agreement to lease the new Connect-70 warehouse in the Bellshill, Scotland. Under the terms of the lease, the company, part of Sumitomo Rubber Industries, will occupy the state-of-the-art logistics development for 15 years once practical completion is reached in January 2024.
Although Chinese factories produced significantly fewer tyres in the first half of 2022 than in the same period last year, monthly figures released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics show a return to year-on-year growth in June. A total of 76.98 million tyres were manufactured within China last month, a 1.2 per cent year-on-year increase and 6.75 million more than were produced in May 2022.
The crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine is placing logistics and transportation in Europe under strain, and like many manufacturers, Michelin Group is facing “major” issues supplying its plants and delivering to customers. The company says it will work to “optimise operations and adapt flow management” by stopping production at some of its European plants for a few days in the coming weeks. Each site will decide specific duration and implementation.
Consolidated sales and operating profit may have been down year-on-year during the three months to 30 September 2021, but Hankook Tire was nonetheless pleased to experience “qualitative growth” during the quarter.
The complexity of the UK tyre wholesale sector has certainly ramped up considerably thanks to what may be termed an almost perfect storm of external factors relating both to the Covid pandemic and Brexit. With retail margins on consumer tyres already very fine, the wholesale sector has been key in keeping price increases under control, especially considering the spiralling cost of shipping. But as those in the sector know, the value wholesalers add within the distribution chain is a considerably wider subject than purely price. Arguably, the service dimension has never been more important than in the last 18 months, as retail businesses adapted to a market transformed by externalities. Tyres & Accessories asked Graham Mitchell, Micheldever Tyre Services wholesale director, about how the business is faring in 2021, starting with its performance this year.
For tyre distributors in import-heavy markets such as the UK, the sharp and sustained rise in the cost of shipping product from key sources such as China and South-East Asia is a major headache with potential market-reshaping consequences. While there have been varying levels of success in managing this headwind according to some in the market with whom Tyres & Accessories has spoken, strategically placed orders and bumper levels of stockholding can only ameliorate prices on such products for so long. Wholesalers have faced a difficult trading environment this year, which to this point has shown little sign of abating.
The latest in our ‘Torque from the Top’ series of interviews with leading tyre industry executives features David Seward, MD of Yokohama’s UK distributor, Yokohama HPT. As you will read later, the company was established in 1988 and Seward has been with the company from the beginning, which must make him one of (if not the) longest-serving MD of any UK-based international tyre company. But first, a brief look at the history of the parent company.
Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. has announced that it will increase the dealer base prices across all tyre categories by up to 8.5 per cent from 1 August 2021. The tyre maker comments that the price increase “is a result of continued increases in raw materials and logistics costs.”
At the start of 2021 Grupo Andrés, started work on the construction its new headquarters. According to the company the new facilities will result in “a significant improvement in distribution” due to the “robotization of the logistics process and a notable streamlining of work and the flow of orders”.
The notion of harnessing the wind to carry cargoes across the oceans is finding renewed favour, and the Michelin Group hopes this mode of shipping will offer plain sailing towards minimal CO2 emissions. The company recently signed a transport commitment with French sustainable shipping firm Neoline that will see its tyres shipped by sail from Halifax, Canada to Saint-Nazaire, France.
Bridgestone Corporation has invested in NEXT Logistics Japan, a company established by truck manufacturer Hino Motors in 2018 to explore new technologies and solutions for the logistics industry. The new investor will work together with NEXT Logistics Japan on a new long-distance transportation scheme that aims to reduce the number of drivers required for road haulage.
After weeks and months of mounting pressure on UK ports, the automotive industry is showing visible signs of strain. Specifically, Honda UK has halted manufacturing at its Swindon factory because it can’t get the right parts in-time to continue production. General UK tyre supply is likely to be impacted too.
Pirelli is constructing a new tyre warehouse to serve its industrial hub at Settimo Torinese in partnership with BGO Logistic Fund 1, which is backed by investment from BentallGreenOak and managed by Kervis SGR SpA, with GSE Italis acting as general contractor. The project will redevelop the industrial area where the Ceat factory once stood near Pirelli’s industrial hub with a view to creating “greater efficiency and environmental benefits”. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
A survey among of over 900 decision-makers within UK businesses has found that: 57 per cent of UK private sector organisations are considering expansion into new global markets in the near future as a result of COVID-19. The research, commissioned by One World Express, also found that 45 per cent of businesses say the pandemic has made them realise they are overly reliant on one market. At the same time, 44 per cent are looking to expand into markets outside of the Single Market due to Brexit.
Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), an initiative by the European Commission, has distinguished Fiege as an Open Innovation Challenger. Having first achieved this standard a year ago, Fiege is being distinguished for the second time in a row. The annual ranking also includes multinationals like Google, Nestlé and Bridgestone. Next to Fiege, a further three German enterprises were distinguished: Bosch, Daimler, and SAP.