Merityre Specialists Limited is a tyre retailer and fast-fit business that operates 24 branches across southern England, offering a range of tyre services along with quality independent vehicle servicing. Formed in 1961, for over 50 years the company has striven to offer service that exceeds expectation. This focus on quality and development has recently seen a number of Merityre Specialists branches become fully accredited Klarius emissions centres – offering a higher level of technical proficiency and type-approved quality Klarius emissions components to motorists.
Customers who research tyres online, but purchase offline were the major topic of this year’s annual conference for Michelin’s Auto Professional network. Michelin estimates that around 70 per cent of tyre purchases begin online – though actual online tyre purchases remain much lower – so tackling this growth market is now an important aspect of tyre retail, as Mark Meagher, retail programme development manager explains.
HiQ has added a new tyre retail outlet to its franchise network in Ruthin, North Wales. Previously known as Automark, the store will reopen as HiQ Ruthin. It brings 12 years of experience and an excellent reputation within its customer base to the network, HiQ states.
HiQ has boosted its franchise network in East Anglia, adding a new Kings Lynn store. The site, formerly part of Weeting Tyres, will reopen as HiQ Kings Lynn; Weeting Tyres is a long-time partner of HiQ, with several stores already part of the retail network. Its existing HiQ stores, based in Ipswich, Chelmsford and Bury St Edmunds, have been part of HiQ’s franchise network for the last five years.
Giti Tire has celebrated the 500,000th sale of its GT Radial FE1 with a ‘Golden Tyre’ presented to GT Radial Performance Centre (GTPC), Perry’s Tyres & Exhausts Service of Cinderford, Gloucestershire. The FE1, launched in 2014, is the fastest selling European pattern in Giti Tire’s history. As of September 2016, more than 580,000 units have been sold in the 21 months it has been available.
Universal Tyres’ Chelmsford site’s victory in the Tyre Retail Centre of the Year category at the Tyre Industry Awards has been lauded by Michelin. The site became one of Universal Tyres’ eight Michelin Certified Centres earlier in the year, after passing the Michelin Auto Professional advocate programme’s audit requirements. It impressed the award judges with its modern design, well-stocked tyre storage and skilled, polite fitting team.
Dunlop Tyres has helped to design and deliver an in-depth training course in conjunction with National Tyres and Autocare Centres (NTA). Aimed at NTA’s assistant branch managers, the course is the first of its kind, focusing solely on developing assistant branch managers in NTA’s centres nationwide. There has not previously been a training course which offers such in-depth and wide-ranging training for the assistant branch managers.
ATS Euromaster, in partnership with Blackcircles, has opened its second quick tyre change facility at the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex, following the success of the first Pit Stop location in Cambridge.
Kingsway Tyres has invested £450,000 in a new autocentre in Retford for car and van drivers, creating two new jobs and further positions in the future. The network has 16 depots across the east of England, and its new centre will include full MOT testing facilities, four-wheel Bluetooth geometry alignment, air-conditioning offering along with the very best in tyre repairs. Based in Trinity Park Industrial Estate, Sloswick Drive, the facility will also offer 24/7 support for commercial trucks, buses and lorries. The new site replaces Kingsway’s depot in Victoria Road, at which the company had been based for more than 40 years.
Bridgestone has taken a minority shareholding in French tyre retailer Pneus à bas prix. Details of the exact stake the tyre maker has acquired or how much it paid have not been released, however Bridgestone states that the new arrangement reinforces its presence in France and complements the company’s First Stop and Speedy retail operations.
How do you reach the “most discerning” consumers within a market and become the “undisputed leader” in premium-tier products and services for this group? For Pirelli, the answer is to offer an entire “brand experience,” and the tyre maker is now putting this concept to the test in North America with the opening of its first P Zero World retail outlet.
A.T.U., one of Germany’s largest tyre and car parts retailers, is once again for sale. According to information from market observers, the company is battling serious financial difficulties. US-based private investment firm Centerbridge Partners, which acquired a controlling share in A.T.U Auto-Teile-Unger GmbH & Co. KG from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) at the end of 2013, has now contracted German restructuring expert Hans-Joachim Ziems. The presence of Ziems doesn’t bode well for A.T.U., which sells around 3.5 million tyres in Germany each year.
At present there are 220 Apollo Vredestein tyre specialists in the UK, and Apollo Vredestein says this number will increase by almost 30 per cent by next year, with 280 centres expected to be operating. This growth in the UK network is occurring as part a wider push to expand the network in Europe.
Bridgestone has announced its plan to acquire 100 per cent of the car service and tyre retail network Speedy France. The manufacturer intends to use the new acquisition to increase its direct access to end-users in France, one of its core European markets, as well as in other markets where Speedy has a presence. The finalisation of the acquisition is subject to approval by the regulatory authorities; once approved, and the transaction is completed, Bridgestone’s French presence will be expanded to more than 800 retail outlets, contributing strongly to its accelerated growth strategy.