Tyre specialists, fast-fits and other garages will remain open despite news of the UK’s third national lockdown on the evening of 4 January 2021. Continuing the trend of the last two lockdowns, the stalwart tyre business has worked through the crisis to keep Britain rolling, with NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay reported increase take-up of the association’s key worker accreditation cards.
5 November saw the inaugural virtual Tyre Industry Conference, with Tyres & Accessories bringing the traditional annual conference into the virtual arena due to Covid-19 restrictions. Produced in association with the NTDA and supported by Cam Systems, our expert panel was comprised of James Ward, senior insight manager, GfK; Andrea Manenti, VP north region, Bridgestone; and Pravesh Amtha, sales general manager Consumer UK&I, Goodyear. The wide-ranging 45-minute conversation covered a lot of bases, but the first session, which was designed to focus on the new tyre market’s recent trends and statistics began with a presentation from James Ward.
On 26 October 2020, The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 statutory instrument was made. Three days later it was laid before Parliament. It comes into force on 1 February 2021. As a result, 10 year-old and older commercial vehicle tyres will be illegal in the UK from the 1 February 2021. And therefore, the Tyred campaign to ban old and dangerous tyres led by Frances Molloy has achieved a key goal.
When the Covid-19 pandemic led to the first national lockdown in March 2020, it wasn’t immediately clear what was allowed to be open. It also took time to clarify who exactly could be defined as key workers. However, it quickly became apparent that – whatever else happens – logistics fleets and blue-light services were indispensable. And these vehicles can’t get anywhere without tyres. Therefore, garages and tyre-fitters were swiftly categorised as exempted businesses and key workers respectively. Having learnt the lessons of the first lockdown, this time things are clear: Tyre garages are allowed to remain open during lockdown. And tyre specialists are key workers.
On 7 August the government shared some results from its recent type approval consultation. That four-week consultation period came to an end on 26 June 2020 and sought views from across the automotive industry relating to what statutory instrument should supersede European type approval Regulation (EU) 2018/858, which covers new vehicle safety. The result? Low performing car tyres and van tyres will be illegal from 1 May 2021. The government type approval consultation supports 30-month grace period for running down such stocks. And OBD ports will remain open for independent garages to access repair and maintenance information.
NTDA wholesaler member GB Tyres UK Ltd in association with Linglong Tyres are sponsoring the 2020 Tyre Industry Conference. Sukhi Singh GB Tyres UK Ltd’s managing director said: “We are very pleased to announce our sponsorship of the prestigious NTDA Tyre Industry Conference and Lunch to be held at the VOX, Birmingham on 5th November.”
The NTDA has welcomed the news that business events and conferences will be permitted to resume from 1 October 2020. Association chief executive Stefan Hay commented: “We really welcome this news which is a very positive move forward for the 2020 NTDA Tyre Industry Conference, Annual Dinner and Tyre Industry Awards which we are currently planning to run on Thursday 5 November at the VOX Conference Centre at Genting Resorts World, Birmingham NEC.
In order to support members during these unusual times, the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) has developed a key worker identity card. According to the association, the NTDA was “inundated with members seeking advice and guidance on the status of their employees as key workers” during the full lockdown period.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is urging the Government to remove the six-month MOT extension with immediate effect, following the Prime Minister’s announcement that further social distancing measures will be relaxed from 4 July.
Following the news that the DVSA will restart heavy vehicle testing from 4 July 2020, Tyres & Accessories understands that the government Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on ending the rolling MOT extension initiated at the start of lockdown in March 2020. While DVSA published a statement on 19 June 2020 relating to restarting HGV tests, DfT has not yet answered T&A’s car MOT-related questions on the subject.
However, when we approached the National Tyre Distributors Association for a tyre industry perspective on the reports, the NTDA gave is full support to proposals to end the current temporary car MOT extension currently being given to the expiry dates of MOT tests as they become due. Specifically, the NTDA called for government to “restart with immediate effect” the normal MOT process.
Following the news that new European tyre labels come into force on 1 May 2021, the UK government embarked on an “Improving new vehicle safety and environmental compliance plus passenger vehicle digital radio requirement” consultation on 1 June 2020.