A change at the top has been announced at A.T.U., the European automotive services provider that Michelin acquired a 20 per cent share in earlier this year. After serving as chief executive officer for the past three years, Jörn Werner is stepping out of the company’s operative business and has become chairman of the company’s Supervisory Board. He succeeds Fabien Derville, who is president of majority shareholder, Mobivia Groupe.
Cornwall-based Geoffrey Harris Tyres has become the latest independent tyre dealer to join BFGoodrich’s UK Off-Road Centre network. The Liskeard retailer is already reaping the benefits of the partnership, bolstering the centre’s all-terrain expertise and its widespread reputation for being the go-to place for 4×4 tyres across Cornwall and Devon.
Pirelli has named STS Tyre Pros Chester as its Performance Centre of the Year for the third year in a row. Each year, one of the network of 120 Pirelli Performance Centres is named PPC of the Year, after the top performing centres in the technical audit have a video mystery shop exercise and scored by an independent assessor.
Point S has opened what it calls its flagship retail outlet for the Southeast Asia region. The centre in Petaling Jaya is the tyre retailing group’s third branded site in Malaysia – Point S entered the country with the opening of its first retail centre there last October. The 20,000 square foot (1,850 square metre facility) has eight service bays, a showroom featuring a Pirelli Performance Centre and BFGoodrich corner, and the site will also act as a terminal for car rental company Gocar Malaysia as well as for Uber competitor Grab Malaysia.
As we go to print on the December issue of Tyres & Accessories, Micheldever Group is marking a year since Sumitomo Rubber Industries, manufacturer of Falken Tyres for which MTS is UK distributor, bought the UK tyre distributor from previous owner Graphite Capital Management. While the sale was not unexpected, the identity of the new owner may have been somewhat surprising, though SRI’s investment in Falken Tyre Europe following the late-2015 dissolution of its alliance agreement with Goodyear makes the acquisition of a leading distributor a logical move. For Micheldever’s board, SRI was said to be an attractive new owner, with the presumption that it would offer offering longevity, stability, and consistency; as a large, well-established, high quality top-six tyre manufacturer seeking to broaden its knowledge of UK distribution with an already successful business.
MRF Tyres has selected 42Gears EMM Solution to provide secure access to MRF product application on the tablets in the exclusive stores. 42Gears solution allows MRF to remotely manage the MRF application and push app updates. Further, the digital signage solution enhances customer engagement by turning the Lenovo tabs into kiosks during idle time.
Independent tyre dealer group Point S has opened its 500th point-of-sale in France, and Point S France is planning for further growth by the end of the year. The aim by the end of 2017 is to have 520 locations within the country.
Independent tyre dealer Selecta Tyre has invested in CAM Cloud, which allows CAM to host Selecta’s Cameo system in its data centre. CAM states the managed service will provide quality, hassle-free maintenance of Selecta’s server and backup solution across its 15 depots and 40 users.
Tyres in Stock’s online shop has details of more than 30 million tyres. The firm reports that it has always done its best “to make the process as quick and simple as possible”. However, recently Tyres in Stock rebuilt its online presence to accommodate the growth that the firm is expecting.450 suppliers already offer their products through Tyres in Stock, which is active in over 15 European countries. The new software allows the business to pursue what it perceives to be growing international possibilities.
Kwik Fit has begun automotive repairs and servicing at its 10th location in Hungary, with the addition of a new centre in Kecskemét.
The opening ceremony for the centre was performed by Olympic medal winning wrestler Norbert Növényi and István Bogasov, Kecskemét city councillor, who joined centre owner Gyorgy Meszaros to mark the start of operations. Gyorgy Meszaros is running the Kecskemét centre under a franchise agreement with Kwik Fit Hungary. Meszaros has operated a car dealership on the site since 2003 and saw a Kwik Fit franchise as a way to offer customers a full range of automotive maintenance and repair services under an internationally respected brand.
Automechanika Birmingham 2017 represented the perfect opportunity for the UK’s automotive aftermarket to gather as higher technology vehicles continue to push up turnover by 2.4 per cent in 2016. 800 such companies were present at the Birmingham NEC for this year’s show. The aftermarket accounted for £21.6 billion in turnover – a figure boosted by the presence of the more high tech vehicles on Britain’s road in addition to recent record months in new car registrations. Additionally the increasing demand for digital services has helped to boost the online side of the segment, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which reported the latest figures, states that more car parts, accessories and services are bought online than cosmetics or groceries. Tyres, alongside lubricants and filters, are the most commonly replaced part, and help account for some of the growth in digital sales, though demand for digital devices, including telematics and tyre pressure sensors, has grown fastest. Overall, the SMMT states that the automotive sector makes a contribution to the UK economy of £12.5 billion.
First Stop has appointed Nic Bentley as its new retail business consultant. Bentley promises the national network will back “entrepreneurial” independent garages. He arrives in the role having gained an understanding of First Stop through his time as a key account manager at Euro Car Parts, where he built up a partnership between the two companies. Bentley has more than 20 years’ experience in the automotive industry, following additional roles with Unipart and also Castrol.
The Parts Alliance has called its Dream Drive promotion, run in conjunction with Delphi during March and April, “an unprecedented success.” Head of marketing, Simon Moore said: “There’s no doubt the Route 66 road trips have really captured customer imagination. As a result, we’ve not only seen existing customers buying more Delphi pads but also many more switching into a great value braking programme that marries excellent quality with a competitive price point.”
The Parts Alliance’s garage programme, Servicesure Autocentres has recruited 50 new garages since the start of 2017. The parts distributor adds that the rate of joining has consistently averaged 15 garages per month since the latter part of 2016.