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.