In early July, German insurance company HUK-Coburg bought a 25.1 per cent stake in tyre and fast-fit chain Pitstop. HUK-Coburg will now add Pitstop’s garages to its auto service network offering, which sees motorists – both HUK-Coburg insurance customers and non-customers – pre-book basic vehicle servicing online.
With the launch of Kwik Fit Club membership, the UK’s largest tyre retail has become the latest to offer a tyres-as-a-service style wheel and tyre subscription offer. Initially, the Kwik Fit Club service is being piloted in the North West and Yorkshire regions, with a national roll out to follow this summer.
Kwik Fit Club membership sees drivers pay a monthly subscription which covers all their tyre wear, including repairs and premium tyre replacement, wheel alignment and six-monthly health checks. They also have the option to include their MOT and servicing costs. Drivers can join the programme and keep track of their subscription through an app, and although they can nominate a ‘home garage’, their membership can be used at any of Kwik Fit’s 600-plus centres across the country.
DriveRightData is partnering with Bridgestone, providing tyre identification and product matching capabilities data for the tyre manufacturer’s recently-launched Mobox monthly tyre and car maintenance subscription service. DriveRightData information supplied includes brand name, product name, description, tyre and tread images, tyre size, pressure, rim size, load and speed index, run-flat capability, EU required labelling information and barcodes.
The ongoing effects of import tariffs, Brexit uncertainty and structural changes in the distribution chain have all affected the tyre business this year. As well as featuring the latest motorsport news and covering market developments in our regular features, this month’s Tyres & Accessories focuses on a number of key examples of changes in the marketplace in our Review of the Year feature. But one trend stands out above the others – virtualization. In short, increasing moves towards electric and autonomous vehicles (complete with their inherent sensorisation tendencies), coupled with changes in vehicle (and tyre) ownership models such as MaaS (Mobility as a Service) are driving changes in the tyre market that are resulting in the virtualizing of parts of the distribution chain.
Indian logistics firm Rivigo has partnered with JK Tyre & Industries Ltd to introduce a patented Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that sends live tyre condition data every few seconds. The Rivigo-originated system – called TREEL – uses algorithms for predictive analysis and features demounting and anti-theft alerts.
As we all now know, Boris Johnson became the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister on 24 July. The first thing he did was replace almost the entire cabinet, with a reshuffle of unprecedented proportions. Next, he gave his maiden speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street, with an address that sought to build a platform for economic and political optimism against the recent backdrop of Brexit stagnation. Not only will we leave the EU by 31 October, we are going to do it in style, he effectively said. In doing so, Boris – as he is affectionately known – revealed as much about the changing nature of the automotive manufacturing industry and its suppliers as he did about British politics.
It is not unusual for the start of the year to be replete with corporate acquisitions. Some even happen while much of the western world is enjoying Christmas and new year holidays. While European FinTyre Distribution (EfTD) did indeed enact the latest move in its ongoing strategic purchasing programme during the 2018 holiday break, it seems that this year February was the month of choice for getting the chequebooks out, with Bridgestone, Michelin and – in the UK at least – Goodyear all announcing strategic spending. For different but connected reasons all three challenge us to consider the impact of changing mobility trends.