The BBC’s Fake Britain covered the dangers associated with buying part worn tyres on 1 December. Made with the support of Trading Standards and TyreSafe, the programme featured Georgina Gee, whose family car was fitted with four unroadworthy tyres by a part worn dealer.
The Fake Britain episode also showed the poor handling characteristics of non-compliant used tyres demonstrated on a test track and tyre assessments by TyreSafe’s tyre expert. It also gave a glimpse behind-the-scenes of a Trading Standards operation.
TyreSafe has launched partworn-tyres.co.uk, a website detailing “the dangers, real cost and legal regulations on the sale of part worn tyres”. Visitors to partworn-tyres.co.uk will find examples of tyres offered for sale by unscrupulous dealers and discovered during such investigations. The description of the sometimes horrifying faults includes tyres which would have been likely to suffer catastrophic failure on fitment, while unsafe repairs, cuts and objects in the tread are also revealed.
NTDA national chairman Roger Griggs used his speech at the 86th NTDA Annual Dinner to echo many of the sentiments expressed at the Tyre Industry Conference, calling especially for unified voices in tackling industry-wide issues. Encompassing cheap imported products, the under-regulated part-worn tyre market, MOTs and road safety, and the importance of attracting young talent to the industry, Griggs’ speech outlined the evolution of the NTDA’s position over the past year and, most crucially the work it is doing in attempting to bring together a variety of disparate voices. Reinforcing the association’s “growth and renewed energy,” according to Griggs, the dinner was the “biggest… in recent decades, with 620 guests in attendance,” indicating the “value…we all place on spending time together as an industry.
After a decade-long hiatus, the National Tyre Distributor Association (NTDA) resurrected the concept of having an annual tyre industry conference, with a new location and new format at the start of October. The new conference sees the association position its gathering as an industry-wide professional event alongside the NTDA dinner. The decision to re-launch the conference comes at a time when the NTDA dinner has itself evolved significantly – this year some 600 people attended (see complete coverage in the preceding section of this issue). But the most noticeable thing was the concerted effort, especially on the part of various industry associations participating, to present a united front. By doing this they showed that the associations are now more interested in highlighting where they stand together as opposed to where they differ.
The sale of dangerous tyres to unsuspecting motorists has led to the conviction of six retailers of part worn tyres from the Brent and Harrow area of London within the space of a week. Top Tyres & Auto Parts Ltd (Wembley); Whitchurch Road Tyres (Harrow); Pinner Road Tyres Ltd (Harrow); Quick Car Repairs Ltd (Harrow); Mr Walazedeh trading as Harrow Tyres (Harrow); and 3D Tyres Ltd (Wembley) faced 36 charges of supplying unsafe tyres, not complying with the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994. All six pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay a total of £18,009.40 in fines, including individual penalties for company directors, costs and victim surcharges.
Shearography is often used to inspect tyre casings for damage prior to retreading, and this technology may soon be employed to check the quality of used tyres imported into Ghana. Official news agency the GNA reports that the Ministry of Transport in Ghana is considering shearographic screening of part-worns as a means of weeding out sub-standard tyres.
The suspended sentence and hefty bill handed to a Lincolnshire tyre dealer should serve as a warning to the rest of the industry, opines TyreSafe. Commenting on the sentencing passed on Luke McKenzie two days ago, organisation chairman Stuart Jackson said the sentence “represents a clear message to tyre retailers across the UK.” Jackson added that TyreSafe is “pleased to see that motorists are being protected from illegal and sub-standard products that will endanger lives.”
A Lincolnshire-based part-worn tyre retailer convicted of supplying unsafe tyres has been given a nine-month suspended sentence and has been ordered to pay prosecution costs totalling more than £26,000. Luke McKenzie, who sold part-worn tyres from Moss Tyres in Grantham, was found guilty in February of 16 charges related to the possession of unsafe products for sale. In addition to the suspended sentence, McKenzie is also required to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
Lincolnshire part worn tyre retailer Luke McKenzie faces up to 12 months in prison along with a £20,000 fine after being found guilty of supplying unsafe part worn tyres to the public. The jury at Lincoln Crown Court unanimously found defendant Luke McKenzie, trading as Moss Tyres in Grantham, guilty on 16 accounts of being in possession to supply dangerous products, namely unsafe part worn tyres, to consumers after one hour’s deliberation. McKenzie also pleaded guilty on two other accounts – one account of supplying a spare tyre of the incorrect size during a Trading Standards test purchase operation; and one account of providing false information stating that that tyres fitted by the business had been balanced when they had not.
On 27 January the UK economy registered growth of 2.6 per cent in 2014. Of course it has not been the same across Europe, but with record new car registrations in the UK and 32 consecutive months of growth in that figure, you could be forgiven for asking why the UK tyre market came out as flat according to both the sell-in and sell-out measurements in 2014. At the same time it is important to set all this into its wider European context, something which this month’s analysis of the passenger car tyre market attempts to embark on.
RH Claydon’s John Parker gave his first Tyre Wholesalers Group speech as chairman at the group’s annual lunch in November. Parker covered the current state of the market, before summing up current views on part worn tyres and tyre labelling, the latter of which he labelled a “debacle”. Attending the event, Tyres & Accessories reports the contents of Parker’s speech below. Parker contextualised what he had to say with current UK market figures. Saying that the consumer tyre replacement market has “stabilised at about 34m units give or take”, he reserved judgement on whether this represented a corner starting to be turned, while noting that this did not take into account part worn sales.
Early in the Tyre Talks that ran in parallel with October’s Brityrex, NTDA director Stefan Hay offered a strong, but pragmatic line on the current state of part worn sales within the UK tyre market as well as suggestions for how the market should approach this part of the business.
Hay began by quantifying the current scale of demand. In short, the NTDA director suggested that there were upwards of 4.5 million part worns being sold on these shores each year. While this is at the top end of part worn market estimates – which are notoriously difficult to objectively and empirically measure – it is difficult to counter the widespread feeling that “part worn dealers are opening up at an alarming rate” across the country. Indeed any alarm associated with the possibility that the part worn market could equate to circa 10-15 per cent of the whole passenger car market’s replacement tyre demand (based on a 30+ million total market figure) or that this could well be growing in line with the openings of new part worn dealers, will only be amplified by the examples of non-compliance and downright dangerousness that recent NTDA, TyreSafe and Trading Standards research revealed.
A new study carried out by ICM Research for Kwik Fit suggests that 22 per cent of British drivers have purchased part-worn tyres for their car at some stage and nine per cent – a figure that represents close to three million drivers – have done so in the past year. However the survey of 2,561 adults in the UK found that only 17 per cent of respondents would consider buying used tyres in the future, with many saying they wouldn’t do so as they have experienced problems as a result of opting for used rubber.
One of the Eagle-eyed editors at Tyres & Accessories’ German sister title, Neue Reifenzeitung recently dropped us a line with regard to our coverage of insurance firm Liverpool Victoria’s research into the UK part worn tyre market (see “23 million part worns sold since 2009” online and in the June issue of the magazine for the original story). In short it seems that while we accurately reported the figures that were released to the press, some of the calculations undergirding the report’s claims couldn’t bear their own mathematical weight. Or in other words the research shows that annual worn tyre demand is less than 4 million units annually and not knocking on the door of 6 million tyres a year (5.7 million units annually was the precise figure) that was originally quoted.
According to an update posted by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at 10:35am, around 30 firefighters remain in attendance at a blaze in Renfew, near Glasgow. A “large quantity” of tyres caught fire yesterday evening and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been on the scene since 10pm; at the height of the incident, 15 appliances and approximately 75 firefighters were involved.