Tyre specialists may not have been named as outright winners this year, but there was at least one tyre retailer named in most of the Motor Ombudsman’s regional Garage Star awards categories. Nearly 1,100 customers submitted a nomination for an individual team member or business accredited to one or more of The Motor Ombudsman’s four Motor Industry Codes of Practice, who they felt had gone above and beyond to assist them during the last 12 months.
On the one hand, most sources agree that online tyre demand is booming as a result of the pandemic and its related lockdowns. However, on the other hand, such rapid growth has also led to increased competition online. One way of finding which tyre firms are getting ahead in the online space is to consider the race for pole-position in Google search results. Since Google is the by far the biggest search engine online holding a dominant 92.47 per cent global market share as of June 2021 (87.7 per cent in the UK specifically), getting your brand ahead of the competition in search results makes a big difference. And paid search advertising, known as pay-per-click (PPC) – is one way to do that. In order to get a handle on the tyre retail sector’s virtual performance in 2021, Tyres & Accessories worked with SEO marketing specialists Evolved who analysed the organic search and PPC performance of the top 23 UK-based etailers and concluded that online specialist Blackcircles is taking ground from bricks and mortar market leader Kwik Fit, amongst other things.
Amateur motorsport association the BTRDA has appointed Darren Spann as Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship manager from 2022, following the retirement of Jane Evans at the end of the 2021 season.
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.
The National Tyre Distributors Association has presented a bumper crop of awards during its 92nd Annual Dinner in Birmingham. In the headline awards, Merityre was made the Overall Tyre Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Pirelli Tyres, Bridgestone took first place in Tyre Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by The Commercial Vehicle Show, while Stapleton’s Tyre Services became 2021’s Tyre Wholesaler of the Year, sponsored by Compilator / Team Systems. Tyrepress reported the announcement of the award winners, in addition to the day’s Tyre Industry Conference, live via Twitter.
With a pandemic, an MOT extension and three lockdowns to contend with, describing the last year as “difficult” would be an understatement. Nevertheless, tyre retailers have demonstrated that they are not only key workers essential to keeping the British Isles rolling, but also versatile and resilient businesspeople during the last 12 months. A quick look at the top 25 UK tyre retail chains 2021 table reveals that it has been a more eventful year than normal in terms of branch openings and closings, but overall the clear message is one of consolidation. As a result, the top 25 UK tyre retail chains wield more power than ever. Specifically, the top 25 now run 2528 branches between them. When our coverage of this area began back at the end of the 2008/2009 tax year, the figure was 1978. During the interim, the rough estimate for the total number of tyre retailers national has stayed stable at around 10,000 specialists (that number is roughly double that if you include general garages). This means the top 25 occupy roughly 25 per cent of the number of branches, up 6 percentage points since 2009.
Pirelli will continue as presenting sponsor of and sole tyre supplier to the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, having signed a renewed deal with series organiser MotorSport Vision Racing (MSVR) to extend the partnership for a further five years through to the 2025 season. Pirelli also remains the title sponsor of the Superstock and Junior Superstock classes.
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.
A new YouGov survey commissioned by Protyre suggests that over 30 per cent of parents could be using dangerous tyres to ferry around their children. The online survey marks this year’s Tyre Safety Month campaign from TyreSafe and its members. Simon Hiorns, Protyre retail director, said that the findings “raise concerns about how much the public are taking on board the importance of tyre safety.” He added that the company wants to “remind parents and motorists generally that tyre safety is just as important as things like seat belts and child car seats.” Protyre also revealed that the proportion of tyres demounted at its branches below the legal tread depth continues to be above 50 per cent. This, it states, shows that the need for tyre professionals to communicate the importance of checking tyre safety remains high.
With the 2019/20 season’s Premier League back underway, runaway leaders Liverpool FC’s team bus is primed to roll on official tyre sponsor, Falken rubber. The manufacturer’s RI151 pattern is fitted by Protyre and supplied in the UK by Micheldever Tyre Services.
Protyre shares that the opening round of the 2020 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship has been postponed owing to the coronavirus outbreak. The Legend Fires North West Stages were scheduled to take place on Saturday 20 March.
Micheldever group company Protyre is once again distributing Goodyear agricultural tyres within the UK market. It will supply the Goodyear Farm Tires range from its 20 agricultural centres across the country; it already reports high levels of customer interest from Protyre outlets in areas such as Cumbria, Pembrokeshire, Derbyshire, Bristol and Essex.