Goodyear has brought out a second generation of its summer van and light truck tyre. The first sizes in the new Goodyear EfficientGrip Cargo 2 range began arriving in December, and the full range of 23 SKUs for 14- to 17-inch rim diameters should be available by the end of October 2021.
Following the news that the law relating to old tyres has changed, the DVSA has updated its guidance documents. DVSA, the body that oversees the nation’s MOT roadworthiness tests, re-asserted that tyres aged over 10 years on the front axles of lorries, buses, coaches and all single wheels of minibuses (9 to 16 passenger seats) are banned from 1 February 2021.
Giti Tire has produced its first AA-rated EU label tyre. The GitiSynergyH2 original equipment tyre, produced in size 215/55R17 XL 98H for the bestselling VW Caddy 5 light commercial vehicle, achieved A grades in the EU label’s wet grip and fuel efficiency metrics. The deal follows Giti’s first LCV OE deal with Volkswagen earlier in 2020, for the larger Crafter model. An aftermarket version of the new GitiSynergyH2 will be launched in the aftermarket in March 2021, replacing the GitiSynergyE1 and GitiPremiumH1, both of which were part of the original Giti brand launch into Europe in 2016. Label ratings for the replacement range will be confirmed during the model’s aftermarket launch.
During the course of 2020 the emergency services’ irreplaceable role as keyworkers took a deserved centre stage. At the same time, tyre technicians up and down the country stayed busy making sure blue light fleets kept rolling. With the Crown Commercial Services framework coming up for renewal in 2021, Tyres & Accessories conducted an in-depth analysis of the Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance fleets’ tyre purchasing and consumption serialised across the year. But how do the Police and Ambulance fleets compare? In this, the concluding part of our series of blue light fleet analyses, we zoom out and compare the national trends present in each emergency service with the other.
The light van market grew by 8.8 per cent in November, although year-to-date the market remains down -21.5 per cent from 2019’s levels. All van and light commercial segments showed improvement in November except pick-ups and 4x4s. These are primarily purchased by private individuals and self-employed as they are both work and lifestyle vehicles, hence often ordered in showrooms, which were closed throughout the month.
On 2 December 2020 Pirelli announced price increases in the United States for car and light truck tyres, taking effect on 1 January 2021. According to the company, the increases will vary according to the tyre model and size.
Davanti and Evergreen have joined premium brands in hailing 2020 as “a big year for electric vans.” The trend towards electric vehicles in the light commercial sector has gathered pace as van manufacturers announced new models. Meanwhile the Covid-19 pandemic served to underline the importance of delivery drivers to the economy. Delivery giant UPS placed an order for 10,000 electric vans over the next four years. Currently in the UK, there are 10,300 electric vans registered. Davanti, the Oak Group’s tyre brand, and Evergreen for which its wholesale arm serves as UK distributor both say they are prepared for the electrification of the van parc with their current products.
September’s new van registrations represented a bright spot in a dire year for new vehicles in Europe. While European Union van registrations have declined 22.8 per cent over the course of 2020, September figures registered double-digit growth. In the UK, the figures are even more polarised, with the light commercial vehicle market down 27.4 per cent for the first three quarters, September growth was nearly the opposite, over 25 per cent up. Though it should also be noted that the UK figures reflect a weak month in September 2019. While the new vehicle picture is clearly complex, the demand for new vans to replace less efficient older models, and to expand fleets, is present even amid this pandemic year. And with the demand – even legislative requirement – to downgrade emissions, OE tyre suppliers will be required to develop increasingly more efficient tyre solutions. And there are more reasons for tyre suppliers to the replacement markets in mature North American and European markets to feel optimistic about their prospects, both for the reasons laid out in the previous analysis of the market, and thanks to some startling statistics relating to the growth in e-commerce laid out by Continental.
Yokohama has announced that it will launch a new all-season tyre for European and Russian vans, the BluEarth-Van All Season RY61, in spring 2021. The tyre will be available in 23 sizes, from 225/55R17C 104/102H to 195/70R15C 104/102T. The manufacturer joins the trend of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers introducing new products in the segment, an intersection of two growth markets in Europe.
Maxxis’s light commercial tyre range received a boost with the selection of the Mecotra ME3+ as the original equipment tyre on the 2021 Volkswagen Caddy 5. While this version of the tyre was developed specially for the new VW, Maxxis’ existing van-focused products have also been “punching above their weight,” according to the manufacturer, in independent tyre tests. The manufacturer says it is “committed to delivering high-quality tyres to the world at affordable price.” Comprising the Vansmart MCV3+ and the all-season Vansmart AS AL2, the range offers high-speed stability and all-weather driving.
Following what was generally regarded as an insightful presentation on the impact of coronavirus on global, European and UK tyre markets, the panel for our “New Tyres in Corona-World” Virtual Tyre Industry Conference 2020 session (James Ward, senior insight manager, GfK; Andrea Manenti, VP north region, Bridgestone; and Pravesh Amtha, Sales General Manager Consumer UK&I, Goodyear) moved into a discussion relating to how manufacturers are working on creatively supporting the tyre trade in the face of the second lockdown and ongoing pandemic- and economy-related complications.
In August, Bridgestone launched new all-season van tyres under both its eponymous and its Firestone brands, the Duravis All Season and the Vanhawk Multiseason respectively. The Duravis All Season was the first all-season van tyre from the brand, achieving A-rated wet grip, while the Vanhawk Multiseason was a first all-season light commercial vehicle tyre in Europe for its second-line brand. In addition to this product expansion, the manufacturer says that it is gaining traction amongst van fleets for its tyre husbandry support service too, supplementing its expanding product portfolio.
While van manufacturers have been both developing their electric portfolios and sustaining a double-digit sales contraction in a pandemic affected market, the picture for van tyre suppliers is certainly not as hostile. As we will see in this feature, the requirements of e-commerce and electric vehicles are providing new impetus to van tyre suppliers in the medium term. But 2020 UK figures generated by market data analyst GfK’s Point of Sales Tracking show that the segment is faring better than many with the travails of this year. At the same time, several trends are coalescing to improve the fortunes of van tyre suppliers.
A subsidiary of Volvo- and Lotus-owner Geely, London Electric Vehicle Company has awarded Davanti Tyres its first OE approval. Davanti’s DX440 light commercial van tyre has earned 100 per cent OE approval for the company’s VN5 electric van, which has now entered full production.