In addition to the latest news and analysis, July’s edition of Tyres & Accessories features the aftermarket, van tyres as well the agricultural/industrial/speciality tyre sector. The latter has proved to be amongst the most resilient sectors during the turbulence of the last year or so. The former two reflect changing market dynamics. In short, many things have changed in the automotive and tyre spaces. And the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated that change. But some things stay the same.
Kenda Tires Europe will distribute its full passenger car tyre portfolio across Germany and Austria via reifen.com GmbH. The agreement took effect on 1 July 2021 and means customers can now purchase Kenda’s complete passenger car tyre portfolio from 37 reifen.com customer outlets across the region as well as from its online shop.
With tyre specialists doing as much mechanical work as ever, and with autocentres representing a growing proportion of the top 25 tyre retailers, understanding the so-called aftermarket side of the business is important. When you add in the pandemic-related disruption, which includes the effects of the government’s six-month MOT extension – something that has caused a mini-boom and bust in the garage space – getting to grips with the latest trends and products in the aftermarket sector at this particular time is something of a priority. That’s why in this section July’s edition of Tyres & Accessories surveys the latest data, trends and products to help you prepare for what’s next. Our aftermarket feature starts with an analysis of the full-year 2020 MOT data from a tyre demand perspective.
Bridgestone’s tyre retail network First Stop and telematics provider Webfleet Solutions will jointly support the World’s Fastest Shed. First Stop is sponsoring Guinness World Record holder Kevin Nicks and his road-legal outbuilding. Webfleet Solutions has installed its Webfleet fleet management software on the unusual vehicle.
Following Halfords’ recent acquisitions of Universal Tyres and McConnechy’s before that, many have speculated regarding what the future holds for Lodge Tyres. Rumours aside, the short story is that Lodge Tyres had a good 2020 despite the obvious Covid-19-related adversity and is set for further growth in 2021. Tyres & Accessories met with Lodge Tyres managing director Andy Christmas and commercial director Martin O’Brien in order to get the latest details straight from Lodge Tyres’ management.
The media might have picked up on the rhetoric of “freedom day”, but the NTDA’s recent “Keeping Tyre Centres Safe” report highlights the fact that businesses will still be required to take responsibility for managing health and safety risks: “All employers will continue to have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from a risk to their health and safety and have a legal duty to consult workers on health and safety matters.” Here, Tyrepress.com takes a close look at the responsibility and choices facing tyre retailers.
Data in the NTDA’s “Keeping Tyre Centres Safe” report shows that 95 per cent of tyre centres keeping some or all Covid-19 measures. Providing useful insights into consumer and retail thinking on subject, the NTDA report highlights that: two-thirds of drivers are concerned about Covid-19 restrictions being lifted (this trend was most noticeable in Scotland where the figure was 69 per cent); that the majority “want to see safety measures REMAIN in tyre centres”; and that “63 per cent of the nations’ drivers would be more likely to choose (and 65 per cent more likely to trust) a tyre centre that continues to enforce safety measures”.
With the 19 July 2021 relaxation of Covid-19 legislation fast-approaching, some have dubbed next Monday as “freedom day”. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stressed that the pandemic is not over and in practice the government is passing responsibility for health and safety and social distancing onto businesses and households. With this in mind, the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) commissioned the “Keeping Tyre Centres Safe – Insight Report” and is launching a “Safe Tyre Centre Scheme” in order to help tyre distributors with the challenging choices they face. At the top of the list of difficult decisions is “which (if any) COVID-19 restrictions they will relax in their branches and workshops” after 19 July, as NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay notes in his foreword to the report.
First Stop has invested £20,000 overhauling the visuals of one of its latest independent partners. Eastern Tyres, based in Fronks Road, Harwich has teamed up with First Stop to undergo an extensive facelift. The centre’s owners, Paul Eagle and Troy Wrenn, whose business only became a First Stop member a matter of weeks ago, hope to clip the wings of competitor garages in future.
The Halfords Group reported a strong set of full-year 2021 that saw the company generate total sales of 1,292.5 million in 2021, up 13.1 per cent compared with the 2020 financial year (2020: 1,155.1 million). The financial report, which was published on 17 June 2021, shows that by all measures pre-tax profits skyrocketed. Indeed, Halfords Group reported profit before tax after the impact of IFRS 16 of £64.5 million, which amounts to a headline-grabbing increase of 184.1 per cent compared with the previous year.
Halfords Autocentres accounted for an increasing proportion of the group’s overall sales figures, reporting 2021 sales of £252.5 million, up 31.6 per cent compared with 2020’s £194.1 million.
First Stop has teamed up with a London-based firm of property developers to source and secure 20 prime retail development opportunities in a bid to attract new franchisees to its tyre and autocare network.
Stone Tyres in St Helens has submitted plans to St Helens Council regarding the expansion of his growing tyre retail business. Despite the advertising of the last 12 months, Stone Tyres has continued to grow – especially the firm’s Gorilla Tyres mobile tyre fitting sister business. However, the latest expansion plans refer to bricks and mortar business and specifically to the construction of an MOT centre next to the Stone Tyres premises.
Tyre dealers stand to save thousands of pounds a year by shopping around when selecting payment processing providers. For a long time tyre retailers did business with cash, cheque and invoices. The next generation brought with it credit and debit card processing, something that has become the norm in garages. Now, a new generation of payment processing providers are offering to streamline the critical payment part of any business while also significantly reducing the associated fees.