On Wednesday 7 June, at its AGM held during Automechanika Birmingham 2017, the NTDA installed Prashant Chopra, managing director of Autogem Invicta Ltd as its new national chairman.
Prashant takes over from Roger Griggs communications director of European Tyre Enterprises Ltd, who has served for an extended period of three years in order to support the implementation and execution of the three-year strategic plan introduced by the association’s chief executive Stefan Hay in 2014.
The NTDA Tyre Wholesale Group annual lunch saw greatly increased numbers alongside enhanced association support in its new position the day before the Tyre Industry Conference (5 October 2016), and location (the Hilton Birmingham Metropole adjacent to the NEC). The group chairman, Kirkby Tyres’ John Parker, presented his third – and potentially final – annual survey of the UK wholesale landscape. His topics included part-worn tyres, against which he joined the NTDA in taking a more radically oppositional stance, commented on the coming challenges and perhaps opportunities of Brexit, and the role of wholesalers in the e-commerce age.
2015 marks the end of the era. I am not referring to the departure of any key executives, although there have been those. Neither I am talking about the mergers and acquisitions that have taken place – and there have been those too. Rather, I am referring to the fact that November 2015 marked the last time that the NTDA Tyre Wholesaler’s Group (TWG) are gathering for a standalone meeting and annual dinner in November. Instead, as chairman John Parker explained in his speech, the event will be reformatted and move to the day before the NTDA annual conference and Tyre Industry Awards in order to facilitate a more efficient use of everyone’s times and travelling abilities. In addition to updating members and guests on the latest developments from within the TWG, Tyres & Accessories was present to hear Parker give a wholesales-eye-view summary of what has been happening in the market, with part worn tyres and within the wider NTDA.
When Ashley Croft used his farewell Tyre Wholesaler Group annual chairman’s speech to ask how we define what a “premium” tyre is, he captured something of this year’s tyre industry zeitgeist (click here for full coverage of the speech). Of the speech didn’t just deal with this question – it touched on labelling, part worns and what the UK industry is doing to improve the availability of good market data too – but, if the market ruminations of a number of key players are anything to go by, Croft wasn’t the only one to have been raising this question during the last 12 months.
In his last speech as chair of the NTDA Tyre Wholesalers Group (TWG), Ashley Croft addressed the proverbial elephant in the room by asking what constitutes a premium brand. The outgoing also used the platform provided by the group’s annual luncheon to questions of labelling, legislation, enforcement and to introduce RH Claydon’s John Parker as the new TWG chairman.
A web-based seminar hosted by TyreSafe has prompted Trading Standards Officers around the country to increase their investigation of the illegal sale of potentially dangerous part worn tyres, the road safety organisation reports. The online event attracted more than 80 participants from around the UK, and TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson said that the organisation is “looking forward to helping… Trading Standards Officers around the country carry out local investigations and initiatives.” While the governmental Used Tyre Working Group data acknowledges that part worn tyre sales have increased in the UK to 4.4 million units, around 90 per cent of which are estimated to be sold without conforming to existing regulations, tackling this problem has proved strategically problematic.
Tyre Wholesalers Group chairman Ashley Croft has called upon the tyre industry to campaign for greater attention to be paid to poorly maintained tyres after Department for Transport figures showed an increase in the number of Killed and Seriously Injured in 2011 where “illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres” were a contributory factor. The chairman also addressed the issue du jour, EU labelling legislation, and while he expressed support for the tyre label and supported the wish to scrutinise the grades on labels, he also suggested that it was not “the number one priority of the tyre industry”.
Yesterday saw the Tyre Wholesalers Group Annual Lunch held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull. At the event, TWG chair Ashley Croft reviewed the year in UK tyre wholesaling, saying that “TWG members are fortunate within the replacement side of our market to have enjoyed a year of consistent market size, although the busy first half of the year has been balanced by a quieter period following.” Croft also looked forward to 2011, in which he forecasted “a year of challenges” for TWG members, commented on the rising interest in winter – or cold weather – tyres in the UK and the long-term potential effects of a consistent, large seasonal market; the persistently low availability of product throughout the year; his concerns about tyre labelling; and the education of non-NTDA member retailers. Below, tyrepress.com presents the transcription of his speech.
When Peter Gaster took on the Chairmanship of the NTDA for the second time three years ago (the first time was in '93), it was with the express intention of conducting a root and branch review of the workings of the association with a view to modernisation. At the association's recent AGM, the recommendations arising from this review were accepted and Gaster stepped down to allow David White to take the Chairman's post.
As a man of 40 experience in the tyre trade – and with it the knowledge of three recessions – Tyre Wholesalers Group chair Ashley Croft is in a good position to comment on the effects of the current financial crisis (which, depending on whose opinion you are heeding, may or may not have come to an end). In his speech at the 2009 TWG Annual Lunch, Croft described the past year as a “harsh period”, but made clear that the recession had hit hardest in the tyre business where manufacturers were most committed to supplying original equipment. However, he stated, “replacement market traders have once again proved themselves to be relatively recession-proof”.
When the NTDA’s increasingly Influential Tyre Wholesalers’ Group (TWG) met for its annual lunch in November, the event brought with it news of import quality checks, an update on the current market situation and a polite request for not manufacturers to take advantage of the UK’s detached geographical position when it comes to pricing.
However, in his role as chairman, Ashley Croft began by giving the audience representing the majority of leading manufacturers and wholesalers an overview of how the economic climate is affecting tyre wholesale markets:
Peter Gaster confronted the issue of tyre ageing head-on in what is likely to be his last NTDA dinner as association chairman. The headline news is that, following negotiations between NTDA director Richard Edy and the RAC Foundation, the respected motoring organisation has pledged its full support for to an industry-wide tyre age check campaign.
The subject of grey marketing raises the hackles of wholesalers and manufacturers alike, with each blaming the other for its existence. So imagine my surprise when Kumho UK managing director, Steve Tidmarsh tackled the subject head-on, telling delegates at November’s Tyre Wholesaler’s Group (TWG) lunch that it is “the manufacturers who drive the grey market.”
Almost six years to the day after the Levi versus Tesco ruling (see page three for more on this), Kumho UK managing director, Steve Tidmarsh, used his recent NTDA Tyre Wholesalers Group (TWG) speech to address the subject of grey importing in a refreshingly direct fashion. “The grey market,” he observed, “always seems to increase when supply rates are poor.” He continued: “For some reason this enrages wholesalers, but let us be fair, it is often exploited by them. However, to balance that, it is also right to state that it is the manufacturers who drive the grey market and currently with the weak US dollar products are a-plenty,” he explained.
The new Chairman of the NTDA Tyre Wholealers’ Group, Peter Gaster took to the floor at the NTDA TWG luncheon to offer one or two points for the trade to consider. Gaster opened by highlighting the fact that whilst he was looking at things from a wholesale point of view, it was worth remembering that many at the event had a foot in both retail and wholesale camps.
He outlined the importance of the role of the wholesaler, comparing the ability of the multi-brand wholesaler to that of the tyre manufacturer and how the result was benefiting the tyre trade as a whole. “The true wholesaler performs a vital and necessary function in the UK distribution market in providing a variety of products and deliveries to all retail sectors in the industry and it is here that the wholesaler performs the most vital function which is service. We are all aware of the cost of distribution and I’ve always felt that manufacturers have at the best misunderstood and at the worst miscalculated the cost of distribution and the reality of the logistics and practicality of delivering one tyre to one customer on a daily basis.