Safanad, the investment firm, has acquired a controlling interest in the UK’s largest alloy wheel manufacturer, Rimstock Plc. Rimstock, which recently celebrated its 30th year in manufacturing, employs over 230 people at its facilities in the West Midlands, England and produces both aftermarket and OE wheels. According to the companies, the business will remain headquartered in West Bromwich, United Kingdom.
When Tyres & Accessories last spoke with Rimstock Plc a couple of years ago, the effect of MG Rover’s collapse in 2005 was still fresh in everyone’s mind. Rimstock itself lost 10 per cent of its business overnight when the last remaining domestically owned vehicle manufacturer ended production. Two years later the wheel industry here has not completely rebounded, but the well-known West Midlands wheel producer, Britain’s largest, has managed to carve several successful niches for itself.
It would be something of an understatement to say that high raw material costs, the weak dollar and unprecedented competition from the Far East is affecting UK alloy wheel manufacturing. But, in the cases of the selection of companies that Tyres & Accessories spoke to, it is more a question of ingenuity triumphing over adversity. So, in the face of such pressing circumstances, how are UK manufacturers holding firm? Work smarter, not necessarily harder, they say.