Traditionally a fallow month ahead of the introduction of new plates, August has continued the trend of new car registration growth in the UK. Announcing the figures, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that 72,163 new cars were registered in August, a 9.4 per cent rise on August 2013 and the 30th consecutive month of growth. Anticipation is now growing for September, usually a far busier month on the back of the plate change.
In Tyres & Accessories’ August 2013 Winter Tyre feature, we discussed the UK tyre industry’s continued deliberate steps towards the development of a winter tyre market, and the possibility offered by all-season tyres (which we’ll come to later). While the figures showed that sales of specialised products represent a much greater share of the market than you might have thought in the winter months, the correlative spikes in this figure remain confined to the months in which the weather is coldest. Market analyst GfK’s latest infographic on winter tyres, displayed on this page, goes further towards showing that this trend is prevalent even within the October-January period where winter tyre sales are most popular.
The IAM is calling for a national strategy of driving health checks and better information for elderly drivers and their families following a Vision Critical poll of 1,297 people. Vision Critical extrapolates that 42 per cent of the population is worried about an elderly relative driving, yet they are unlikely to do anything about it: […]
Kuwait’s high rate of urbanisation and purchasing power will lead to continued opportunities for imported passenger car tyres, a new report on the country’s automotive segment has revealed. With about 95 per cent of the country’s population residing in urban areas, and private car demand rising, imported PCR tyres have led tyre demand, though the TechSci Research report also suggests that commercial vehicle demand could follow increased mining and oil drilling investments.
The truck market was amongst the first to take steps to reduce costs when the credit crunch bit, but the flipside is that is also amongst the first to respond when conditions improve. And this is likely to have a knock-on effect on the tyre market that supplies it. Continental’s logic certainly fits with their figures. And the fact that marketing is growing again is evident based on the fact that UK and Irish truck and bus tyre replacement markets shot up 14 per cent and 5 per cent respectively in 2013. Now it is worth pointing out that these figures are based on ETRMA data which includes the top five and some other leading manufacturers, but not many of the imported brands that are popular to UK tyre buyers.
There are already signs that European tyre labelling is having an effect on the purchasing decisions of consumers, that’s the view of Continental representatives shared at the company at its recent annual trends briefing in London. Conti’s reading of market response to labelling follows a number of different view proffered by other manufacturer, supplier and retail sources. So far much of the data has suggested that the label is unused or unoffered and so therefore doesn’t have much influence.
While no-one is saying the climate is easy or the market is booming, Continental Tyre Group estimates that the worst is over and the UK market currently totals some 35 million passenger car tyres a years. Of course the fact that the same experts also suggest that around 10 per cent of this is made up of part worn sales remains problematic, but this is tempered by the fact that UK market has been leading Europe in terms of new car registrations recently, which all points to increased growth of large and higher performance sizes in the next two to three years. And what’s more Conti’s UK representatives suggest that the new European tyre label is already beginning to have an impact, despite other sources both agreeing and disagreeing with this position. Tyres & Accessories caught up with Continental’s passenger tyre segment brand manager (which includes car, 4×4 and van in the role’s remit) Peter Robb at the company’s annual trends briefing in central London on 6 December to find out more.
Continental estimates that the 2011 UK car, 4×4 and van tyre market will equate to 33 million units despite estimates from other leading tyre manufacturers earlier in the year suggesting demand could have been in for a double digit drop. Speaking at the tyremaker's annual market trends briefing in London, executives from Conti's UK operation (Continental Tyre Group Ltd) explained that the market has “remained static, with a number of evident developments, such as an increase in the part worn market due to the scrappage scheme.” Continental now estimates that part worn sales equate to 2 – 3 million units a year, with sales of these used products estimated to have increased by up to 50 per cent of the traditional and widely accepted 2 million units annually figure.
Don Baldwin, business segment manager for Michelin Americas Truck Tires, has ascended to the board of directors for the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, reports Tire Review. Baldwin, one of 19 original founders of NACFE, is the only tyre manufacturer representative on the board, Michelin said.
A US$10 million investment is being made to increase capacity at Cooper Tire & Rubber’s Findlay, Ohio factory. The funds, says Cooper, will be directed towards increasing capacity through automation, cost improvements and retooling to support market trends. The investment will also enable up to 100 new people to be hired at Findlay.
In order to celebrate the 5,000th sale of its Solus Pro hand-held diagnostic tool, Snap-on Tools, the supplier of tools, tool storage and workshop equipment for the UK automotive aftermarket, has announced the introduction of celebratory carbon fibre-look edition. Launched in May 2008, the Solus Pro is the second generation of the mid-range model of Snap-on's 'family' of hand-held diagnostic tools and it was specifically designed to provide the technician with an even faster performance and more diagnostic data.
Starco has announced the launch of its new range of low cost, good quality ATV tyres. The brand, which has been previously established on the US market, will run alongside Starco’s existing Kenda line up, a move that the company says will offer customers greater choice.
The range includes both crossply and radial sizes and is available with a choice of tread designs to suit all applications and conditions. Starco’s warehouse in Rugeley, Staffordshire holds £3 million of stock, comprising comprehensive ranges of wheels, tyres and tubes for not only ATV but also turf, wheelbarrow, high speed trailer, industrial forklift, implement, skid steer and small materials handling applications. In response to customer demand and market trends, the ATV addition to the existing range is designed, says Starco, to maintain the company’s position as a major supplier of ATV tyres from the premium to the budget end of the market.
The focal point of Infinity’s 144 square metre stand at Autopromotec 2009 will be the brand’s two new products – the new INF 059 winter van tyre and the INF 200 on-road 4×4 tyre.
The INF 059 will be available from Autumn 2009 and will feature five products ranging in size from 14 to 16 inch diameters. According to company representatives, tt will complement the existing Infinity winter tyre range and will feature a distinctive asymmetric tread pattern and a “proven winter rubber compound.”
Kumho says it will make a decision by June on the type of tyres its planned facility in Macon, USA will produce. The plant was originally due to enter production this year before Kumho announced a 12-month delay last December, the revised completion time attributed to market factors. The South Korean manufacturer says the delay was necessary in order to respond to such factors.
Bridgestone’s stock jumped 3.9 per cent to 1,332 yen (10.17 pounds sterling – 1 GBP: 131 JPY), when Credit Suisse reported that its new stock rating was “outperform”, from a previous ranking of “neutral.” The bank also raised its target price to 1,700 from 1,400, reasoning that the manufacturer has shown resistance to generally negative market trends.
The upgrading could be taken positively in the wider tyre business too. In his report, Credit Suisse analyst Toru Iwai wrote that, “We believe the tyre subsector is the only auto parts subsector capable of generating profits in FY09. We believe top-line growth, a major factor in assessing the company, will likely recover faster than auto production.”