On Friday 4th August, the Montinex tyre retail group went into Administrative Receivership. Discussions with potential purchaser Stapleton’s Tyre Services broke down last month. The parts of the Montinex group in Receivership are Chessington Tyres, Malvern Tyres, Northway Tyres and Charlie Brown’s Autocentres, totalling some 144 retail outlets. It is hoped to sell these as a going concern. Fleet Tyre Management is not in Receivership and is continuing to trade. Montinex turns over £86m annually and employs 840.
It has been confirmed that Kwik-Fit has purchased the “vast majority” of depots which made up the Montinex group retail chain. Montinex was put up for sale by the Administrative Receiver in early August and the deadline for receipt of bids was 18th August. The Kwik-Fit deal was finalised less than two weeks later. Kwik-Fit would not reveal the exact number of centres involved, but said that the company would study them in detail in order to determine the best way forward for each – at this early stage no decisions have been made.
When Continental bought the UK retail chain National Tyre Service a decade ago, the company regarded its equity as a way of gaining a foothold in the market and increasing its market share. To put it simply, National was merely a vehicle for moving tyres. In the last few years, the German parent has realised the strategic importance and benefits of having its own chain and has re-thought its attitude. National turns over £150 m annually and it is no secret that the company has been making a loss over recent years but this, says Chief Executive Adrian Dunleavy, is due to change within the next five years, with the aim being profit and a sustainable market share. In an exclusive interview with TYRES & ACCESSORIES, Dunleavy discusses the details of the plan and the investment promised by Continental. He also gives frank answers to the critics of National’s “two tyres for the price of one” offer, who regard this as being responsible for today’s price cutting. And how does he respond to the widespread condemnation of the National Motor Dealer offer, which was designed to encourage motor dealers into the tyre business? The five-year plan requires time and investment and Continental have granted both. Dunleavy accepts that the pressure is on him to deliver results within the designated time frame.
Nokian Tyres has released figures for the first nine months of the year. Sales rose 29.9% to 258.6 million Euro (199 m for the same period 1999) and operating profit fell to 11.9 million Euro (18.4 m). Net profit was 2.7 million Euro (9.9 m).
Michelin has introduced a new initiative in the UK, aimed at supplying a single source, total tyre life package for fleet customers. Called Encore, the new service introduces a retreading facility for Remix tyres and the possibility of retreading new tyres from competitors. The retreads will be branded Encore and will only be available for fleet customers and not on retail sale. Further details are available in November’s TYRES & ACCESSORIES. The company has made ‘substantial’ investments at Stoke-on-Trent, including a new, independent retreading facility, in an attempt to woo fleet business. Encore will only be available to those customers who buy Michelin tyres as new, as the whole aim of the scheme is to increase sales of new Michelin tyres. For fleet customers, product alone is no longer enough, as they are demanding more in the way of services and tyre management. Encore gives Michelin a greater measure of control and enables the company to offer a ‘new to scrap’ tyre management service.
Eurofleet Tyres & Services, daughter of Bandag and the German retail cooperative Team-Group, which was first introduced in June at REIFEN 2000 in Essen, reports a positive development. It has more than 1,300 service partners which cover not only the Western European territory, but also Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia.
According to results from Tyrecheck 2000, carried out by Police forces throughout the UK, as many as one in ten cars on UK roads may be running on illegal tyres, 27% are, at best, close to the end of their safe and legal life. That’s in excess of 13million illegal tyres in use every day. Imagine then the figures for faulty shock absorbers hidden out of sight? Recent research carried out in the UK suggested that over 6 million out of 25 million (24%) cars on the road were running on at least one faulty shock absorber. Belgian research confirmed that this is not purely an UK problem when figures produced there showed 20-25% of motorists driving with faulty dampers. If the car driver is unaware of a problem, how can the industry realise the potential sales in the shock absorber aftermarket? The market is estimated by Datamonitor to be worth in excess of 124M Euro at Retail Selling Price (RSP) in the UK alone, and across Europe has a value of some 471M Euro at Manufacturer Selling Prices (MSP). How does the fast fit salesman persuade the customer that he needs a new shock absorber? Moreover, how does he persuade him that he needs to change a pair? More about this can be found in the December issue of TYRES & ACCESSORIES.
Nokian Tyres’ turnover last year reached 322.6 m Euro (28% higher than 1998) and an operating profit of 42.1 Euro (1998 32.2 m Euro). Profit before tax was 35.5 m Euro (1998 29.9 m Euro) and net profit 25.7 m Euro (1998 21.6 m Euro). The company invested 85.7 m Euro (1998 72.7 m Euro), this was mainly in production (30 m Euro). There was also expansion in retail equity with the purchase of the Finnish company ISKO.
The Kwik-Fit group plans to grow from its present 2,000 centres to a total of 5,000 centres by the year 2010. This is made possible due to the financial backing of car giant Ford, said Sir Tom Farmer recently in a key-note speech in England.