Having made a considerable impression in the UK segment, Giti Tire has designs on increasing to 10 per cent its share of the German truck and bus tyre market. The manufacturer has recently restructured its sales operation in the country, making several new appointments and seeking to strengthen the position of GT Radial. Richard Lyons, managing director – Europe, said: “While the truck and bus operation has performed well in recent years there has been key senior staff appointments in the German office, and it was felt the sales force needed to be more closely aligned to their vision for the business.
The continued success of Jaguar Land Rover in the UK market, with an increase in sales and market share in 2012 fuelled by the Evoque and the continued popularity of Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, makes high performance SUV products an important aspect of Falken’s range. To meet these vehicles’ demanding requirements, Falken says it will be providing its Azenis FK-453CC, tyres in new sizes to fit the specifications of the latest Range Rovers and Land Rovers. The size range will now include 255/55R19 and 275/40R20.
Giti Tire (UK) has appointed Craig Tominey as Area Sales Manager (ASM) Scotland as the company continues to add staff to its commercial tyre sales team. Tominey joins from BSUK Limited where he held the position of ASM from 2006, before which he spent five years selling commercial vehicles for Arnold Clark.
In addition to announcing a 30 per cent rise in sales last year, Blackcircles.com appears set to expand across the Channel in the near future. Company founder and managing director Mike Welch states the online retailer aims to grow market share both in the UK and internationally and claims that Blackcircles.com is now in talks with parties in Central Europe; if all goes to plan, an announcement regarding a partnership or acquisition will be made before the end of this year.
Maxxis International has promoted Amy Colbourne to the role of marketing manager. Colbourne started with Maxxis International in 2010, when Maxxis made the decision to invest heavily in marketing communications in order to boost its brand profile. She is now responsible for all aspects of marketing in the UK, including activity to support Maxxis distributors and as such the new role will see her take direct control of the marketing budget.
Bridgestone may remain as the world’s most valuable tyre brand, according to new brand valuation research by Brand Finance, but there are actually four tyre brands in the top 500 list.
The annual Brand Finance Global 500 showed that while Bridgestone suffered some slippage from 2012 and Michelin gained some ground, the Japanese tyremaker’s lead brand retained its top spot. Bridgestone placed 254th overall on the global rankings, down from 2012 placement at 235th. The brand was valued at $4.5 billion, up slightly from 2012’s $4.4 billion valuation, earning a brand rating of AA-.
Giti Tire has announced the appointment of Dr Gabriele Bosselmann to the newly created position of HR director – Europe. Dr Bosselmann will join the EU leadership team and be responsible for HR policies, processes and procedures, as well as hold a key role in the development of business plans and objectives.
Last May, Bridgestone celebrated the golden jubilee of its Bari passenger car tyre factory in Italy. There will be no diamond jubilee, however; on 4 March, Bridgestone Europe stated that the plant will be closed. Operations at the Bari facility are expected to cease within the first half of 2014, although the exact timing of the closure, along with terms and conditions, are yet to be discussed. Bridgestone says it is “immediately available to start the discussion to identify the best solution in order to minimise, as much as possible, the social impact of the decision on the approximately 950 employees involved, in line with the culture of the group.”
During the SIMA show, Indian tyre maker BKT gave an update of the company’s recent performance. Highlights covered including the firm’s average annual growth rate – this remains at approximately 30 per cent. BKT also claims to currently hold five per cent of the global market share in the off-highway tyre sector in speciality segments such as agricultural machines and equipment, earthmovers, industrial vehicles, ATV and lawn & garden applications. The company says it aims to double this market share by the end of 2014; at this time it plans to achieve a turnover of US$1.36 million, and a turnover of $2 billion by 2020.
Simon Winstanley has taken over as Michelin’s motorcycle tyre sales manager for the UK and Ireland. Based at the company’s headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent, Winstanley will head-up a field sales force of four account managers and one key account manager. With 13 years of experience in the tyre industry, Winstanley has worked in a number of departments at Michelin and has held various marketing and sales roles. His most recent position was as manager of the Michelin customer service centre in Stoke-on-Trent.
At Hankook Tire America’s annual ‘Partners Day’, the tyre maker gave an overview of its recent successes and shared it plans to build upon these accomplishments. US industry publication Tire Review was there and shares news of the event held in Cancun, Mexico.
Hankook says its market share in Britain is on the rise, and this has led to the need for an additional local stock holding facility. The company has established a new warehouse in Daventry to meet its requirements, and recently celebrated the opening of the new facility. Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, patron of charity Transaid – a charity also supported by the tyre maker – joined staff at Hankook’s new Daventry warehouse on 7 February, where she officially opened the new stock holding facility.
With 2012 behind us, perhaps tyre dealers can look forward to a more prosperous 2013. That is certainly the view of analysts at Plimsoll Publishing Ltd, who recently predicted a year of growth. A new market report produced by Plimsoll, which looks into the financial performance of the UK’s largest 693 Tyre Dealers, found average growth was as high as six per cent. However the 2013 Tyre Dealers report concludes that this is by no means widespread as this successful growth is being driven by a quarter of the industry – an “elite” band of 190 companies to be precise.
UK new car registrations rose 5.3 per cent in 2012 to 2,044,609 units, boosted by strong consumer demand. The latest data released by the SMMT on 7 January shows that annual the volume was highest since 2008 and recorded largest percentage increase since 2001. However, the new car market was still 14.9 per cent below the 2007 pre-recession level of 2.4 million units. According to the data, the market ended 2012 with a 3.7 per cent rise in December to 123,557 units.
The market for motorcycles in November shows a decline of 3.2 per cent in a year where the market has experienced a mere 0.1 per cent growth for the year to date.
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA)/Motorcycle Retailers Association (MRA) commented "Of particular concern is the slowdown in the 51-125cc commuter bike market that has performed throughout the year with an increase in the year to date of 9.3 per cent. However, in November the 51-125cc market experienced a downward fall of 6.8 per cent. This is a strong indication that economic pressures are affecting basic purchases of lower priced motorcycles that many consumers consider an essential form of commuter transport."