We’ve all had to adapt during the corona-crisis and lockdown. For many tyre retailers it has meant agonising decisions relating to either staying opening or shutting down. But some have found a middle way – mobile tyre fitting.
During our recent “Kick-starting your tyre business” Tyrepress webinar, Craig Sprigmore, retail director of HiQ; Graham Mitchell, wholesale director of Micheldever Tyre Services; Noel Pope, managing director of Merityre; and John Stone, founder and managing director of Stone Tyres discussed the role of mobile fitting in helping tyre businesses adapt to the new normal.
Michelin is supplying more than 2,000 UK and Ireland tyre dealerships with COVID-19 safety kits as the demand for tyres in all sectors begins to increase. The packages contain materials to help implement standardised hygiene practices for employees and customers. The free packs have begun shipping to all independent Michelin Quality Centre, Michelin Exelagri and Michelin Service Pro dealers. These networks support Michelin customers across the car, agricultural and commercial vehicle sectors respectively.
Following its entry into the Chinese market in October 2019, Point S has opened its first two pilot outlets. The tyre retail and car maintenance group formalised its joint venture, Point S China, with Suremoov and Harson, two major players in the Chinese garage market, and the membership of their respective networks. The formation of the JV was introduced at the end of 2019 during the Paris Equip’Auto show, and in an official ceremony in Shanghai on 25 October.
Halfords Autocentres has launched a car collection and delivery service. Running from 215 of its garages across the UK, the service is available alongside service or MOT with a service bookings. The service means staff at the Autocentre will collect the car from your home and return it when work has been completed. The company is charging £19.99 for the service.
On the ninth consecutive week of lockdown in the UK, two thirds of British workshops were open, according to the GiPA garage survey. This average includes franchised dealers, independent motor traders and tyre dealers, as well as national chains. Watch the Tyrepress webinar, ‘Kick-starting your tyre business’ for more information and advice on how different dealer groups have tackled lockdown and reopening.
Autogem has created a triple-layer, reusable anti-bacterial facemask. The new product has been added to the TPMS and workshop consumables supplier in response to the needs of customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The ‘gemCare’ masks, which are non-medical grade and will therefore not affect the supply chain to the NHS, are designed by medical professionals. Autogem added that the masks are intended to complement other protective measures, such as washing hands and maintaining social distancing.
During our recent “Kickstarting your tyre business webinar”, the panel shared lockdown stories of how they have survived and even experienced success during these difficult times. For his part, Graham Mitchell, wholesale director of Micheldever Tyre Services, shared details of how his company moved from its role as a leading wholesaler to a more support-orientated position. For those pivoting into this new role during lockdown, far from having less to do, this meant being even busier than normal despite wholesale volumes dropping to 25 per cent of normal levels during the depths of lockdown (levels are much more normal now, however).
Tyre distributors from across the country have come together to support the restarting of the tyre trade. Large and small retailers from St Helens to the South East worked together to produce the inaugural Tyrepress webinar entitled “Kick-starting your tyre business’.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is launching a Covid-19 compliance certification scheme for garages wishing to demonstrate to their customers that the environment is safe. The scheme is based on the Government’s safe working guidelines to prevent coronavirus transmission and will underpin the IGA’s case to overturn the six-month MOT extension by providing evidence that garages are safe places for consumers to visit.
The Garage Equipment Association (GEA), Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd (SMMT) have published a best practice guide outlining the necessary steps for garages exiting lockdown.
Financial analysts from Jefferies described Continental AG’s plan for fiscal improvements during the corona-crisis “encouraging”, according to an analyst report published 15 May 2020. That Conti’s management highlighted “positive data points in China and the European replacement tyre market”, would seem to be positive indications for the whole tyre business. Specifically, replacement tyre demand was described as “strong” in Germany. However, R&D budgets are likely to be cut and there was even the suggestion that European tyre factory numbers could also be cut back.
With some drivers returning to the roads as the lockdown eases, Pirelli technicians have offered five tyre maintenance tips to help ensure safety and performance. Drivers are also being referred to the company’s Pirelli Performance Centre network for further enquiries. There are now 128 depots in the UK Pirelli Performance Centre network. Retailers within the network maintain standards through a 130-point technical audit, which each centre completes twice a year with increasingly demanding criteria.