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.
80 guests became the first European customers to test drive the new GT Radial SportActive 2 and FE2 at GT Radial’s first Mira Drive and Ride event for almost two years. Potential new dealers, supported by select GT Radial Performance Centre (GTPC) owners, got back on track under Covid secure conditions over two days, during which GT Radial’s exclusive UK distributor over the last decade, Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), presented the brand’s product portfolio. All attendees were invited to experience high speed circuits in the new BMW 5 Series of Giti Tire’s country manager – UK, Brian McDermott who put his own car on the redline.
Micheldever Tyre Services has almost doubled its sales of BFGoodrich tyres since becoming the brand’s official 4×4 wholesaler in the UK at the start of 2020. The agreement sees the Winchester-based business – which has established a wholesale distribution network of 15 sites around the country, supplying more than 6,000 retailers nationwide – stock a large selection of BFGoodrich’s All Terrain T/A KO2 and Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 ranges, helping to ensure excellent product availability throughout the year.
General Tire’s Altimax One S is the heritage-rich Continental group brand’s successor to the Altimax Sport, offering reliable dry performance, increased wet grip, and higher mileage due to its silica enriched rubber compound. The tyre is available in the UK from exclusive distributor Micheldever Tyre Services in a broad range of 15 to 20” sizes, approved for speeds of up to 186 mph.
Phil May, owner of Strood based RM Tyres, passed the million-pound milestone at the end of February, the peak of 12 months during which his company has seen an unprecedented increase in online sales. For all of the tyre sales processed by RM Tyres through TyreClick, 28 per cent have come in the past 12 months, an indication of the surge in consumers opting to buy their tyres online.
Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) reports that it is offers a “gripping” SUV proposition for retail customers in 2021, with a range of new products available to its tyre retailer network. According to the company, MTS supplies SUV tyres to over 6,000 customers, including a national network of over 250 independent 4×4 and SUV tyre specialists. Changes include new upgraded patterns, helping to bolster MTS’s range of SUV tyres – for both for on and off-road usage.
Falken Tyres will sponsor a series of television programmes on UKTV’s entertainment channel, Dave. The first national TV advertising campaign for the Sumitomo Rubber Industries global tyre brand was developed by the brand’s UK distributor Micheldever Tyre Services and its partner agency Spark Foundry. Falken idents will appear before and after selected programmes – collectively called “Characters on Dave” – between February and November 2021. These programmes include the popular entertainment shows QI XL, Travel Man, and Would I Lie To You?
Micheldever Tyre Service’s wholesale team covered almost 2000km by foot and bike in raising £11,000 for men’s health charities in November. The 28-strong team is sending the funs to organisations involved in providing support and raising awareness for prostate and testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Various team members also sported newly grown moustaches for “Movember”. Readers can find the MTS team fundraising page here.
A couple of weeks after the end of the UK’s second lockdown, Tyres & Accessories spoke with Micheldever Tyre Services wholesale director Graham Mitchell. Since Mitchell was part of the panel in our inaugural “Kickstarting your tyre business” webinar in May 2020 at the end of the first lockdown, we thought it would be good to catch up at the end of the year and compare the differences between the first and second lockdowns. In short, while many shops closed during the first lockdown, the vast majority were open for business during the second. We also discussed 2020 as a whole and looked forward to 2021.
Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) has expanded its tyre distribution capacity with the addition of a new warehouse in Exeter and the expansion of its Nottingham and Walsall sites. The new 22,078 square foot Exeter location became fully operational in the summer. According to the company, the site expands stock-holding capacity by roughly 50 per cent from 11,000 to 16,000 tyres, whilst also providing an improved stock-keeping unit (SKU) range of 2,518 SKUs.
The Micheldever Group recorded its tenth TyreSafe Award in 2020, as Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) and Protyre recorded their respective third and seventh consecutive victories in their categories. MTS won Wholesaler of the Year, while Protyre retained the Large Retailer of the Year accolade. Micheldever also paid tribute to MTS customer Stone Tyres, which swept the board at this year’s event with a hat-trick of awards.
There have been serious challenges to tyre distribution in 2020, and while demand has returned with the end of the national lockdown, Covid-19’s autumn rise means the spectre of spring’s market conditions looms over the winter months. This year, companies have needed to manage the operational problems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns throughout Europe; they also needed to weigh up wildly fluctuating supply and demand. Whether there is a return to a concerted national effort similar to the UK’s actions in April and May or not, the lessons learned during this period continue to prove relevant. Meanwhile, the sector was already experiencing difficult times prior to the outbreak, with European tyre market demand flat overall in the light vehicle sector – a situation that certainly deteriorated in the pandemic. For the October magazine’s wholesale feature, Tyres & Accessories spoke to a range of players in the wholesale sector in Western Europe to look at the lessons of this year, and how recovery is progressing. We start with Micheldever Tyre Services, a leading UK player in the light vehicle tyre market especially, which has experienced a “strong” return of demand in the second half of the year, according to wholesale director Graham Mitchell.
Official tyre partner of the VW Fun Cup 2020 season, Giti Tire is racing in a fully liveried GT Radial car. At each race weekend Ellis Hadley, senior test engineer at Giti Tire, leads a line-up of race enthusiasts from the GT Radial Performance Centre (GTPC) network. This activation of the event provides a great opportunity to get together with key distribution partners and customers of the brand’s exclusive distribution partner Micheldever Tyre Services, as well as increasing coverage of the brand. This approach to the series is demonstrated in a new Facebook video distributed on the championship’s Facebook channel, featuring Hadley and customers Carl Churchill and Alan Baldwin.
Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) is celebrating 25 years of its partnership as the sole distributor of the General Tire products in the UK.
Upon launching in July 1995, the partnership set out to introduce General Tire’s world-renowned 4×4 tyres to the British market and as the working relationship developed and General Tire’s reputation in the UK grew, in 2009 the General Tire range of car and van tyres was also made available for UK customers.