A couple of weeks after the end of the UK’s second lockdown, Tyres & Accessories spoke with Micheldever Tyre Services wholesale director Graham Mitchell. Since Mitchell was part of the panel in our inaugural “Kickstarting your tyre business” webinar in May 2020 at the end of the first lockdown, we thought it would be good to catch up at the end of the year and compare the differences between the first and second lockdowns. In short, while many shops closed during the first lockdown, the vast majority were open for business during the second. We also discussed 2020 as a whole and looked forward to 2021.
Giti Tire is showcasing its 2020 motorsport achievements in a new video. Despite Covid-19 restrictions, the manufacturer still set tyres on the tarmac in the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race and Endurance Series, the F3 Asian Championship, the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC), and VW Fun Cup UK, among others. Its longstanding partnerships were joined by a growing Esports team, with 40 international drivers driving 30 different cars in online events around the world.
Michelin has announced pioneering plans to equip all its new car tyres with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips by 2023. Continuing its long history in the development of tyre-orientated RFID technology (including the global launch of a truck tyre RFID solution in 2012) Michelin says up to 1.5 million RFID-equipped car tyres will be delivered as early as 2020.
Stapleton’s and Nexen have combined with Harry Redknapp to produce a fun Christmas video. With the likes of McDonald’s, Walkers crisps and much-revered John Lewis adverts launching in early November, Stapleton’s and Nexen along with brand ambassador Harry Redknapp have joined them to bring some light relief at the end of a tough year.
It has been nearly two years since the Goodyear brand’s reintroduction to motorsport in Europe, and it is fair to say that operating in a pandemic was not part of the plan when this brand strategy was set out. Tyres & Accessories spoke to Ben Crawley, Goodyear motorsport director EMEA, about his experiences of the 2020 season. Goodyear re-entered European motorsport almost two years ago. While the brand on a global level has “never really been out of motorsport,” bearing in mind its six continuous decades of NASCAR in the USA, Crawley tells T&A that the thinking behind Goodyear’s reentry in more global series “fits into a wider brand rejuvenation” strategy. “We know we have this fantastic legacy and history in racing, and we want to be able to use that to reengage and provide some excitement for the brand and how we communicate the brand with consumers.” The motorsport strategy also coincided with Goodyear’s introduction of ultra-ultra-high performance (UUHP) Eagle F1 Supersport tyres, and “the natural synergies that come with high performance tyres for the road and racing.” Beyond the new product range, the “brand rejuvenation strategy includes the Blimp, racing, and broader advertising and marketing partnerships,” Crawley adds. Subscribers can view the video of this interview in the full version of this article.
Hankook Tire has released a video that explains its work on pre-emptive road risk detection technology in collaboration with data and technology company SK Planet. The result of this joint effort is the Road Hazard Prediction & Detection Solution.
Digitisation has been an extremely important trend in 2020, to say the least. Due to the restrictions implemented by global governments to combat the spread of Covid-19, the use of technology to perform all sorts of basic business functions has never been as widespread in its usage. While tyre fitting businesses have been spared enforced closure with their rightful designation as an essential service, the implementation of solid digital systems to assist operational and marketing functions has been vital – more so than ever before. Tyres & Accessories used one digital system with which many are now intimately acquainted – Microsoft Teams – to speak to the commercial director of tyre business software systems provider CAM, Steve Daly, about how the company has supported this increased digitisation, as well as the general growth in companies employing CAM’s solutions, such as e-jobsheet and Fitter-Force. This interview is also available as a video to subscribers below.
On 23 November, Oxford Dictionaries declared that “unprecedented” is the word of year. Normally the world famous English language experts choose just one word to sum up the preceding 12 months, but such was the cumulative uniqueness of the series of events that has characterised 2020, this year they chose several “words of an unprecedented year” – a move that is itself unprecedented. So why not use their zeitgeist-capturing collection of novel verbiage as a way of reviewing 2020 from a tyre business perspective?
The British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association has welcomed new legislation to enforce the tyre labelling regulation from 1 January using civil sanctions. The Department for Transport (DfT) appointed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Compliance Unit as enforcement authority earlier in 2020, replacing the National Measurement Office. To date, the DfT has conducted 68 “mystery shopper” visits, finding 78 per cent of tyre retailers were not compliant with the requirement to provide the labelling information.
5 November saw the inaugural virtual Tyre Industry Conference, with Tyres & Accessories bringing the traditional annual conference into the virtual arena due to Covid-19 restrictions. Produced in association with the NTDA and supported by Cam Systems, our expert panel was comprised of James Ward, senior insight manager, GfK; Andrea Manenti, VP north region, Bridgestone; and Pravesh Amtha, sales general manager Consumer UK&I, Goodyear. The wide-ranging 45-minute conversation covered a lot of bases, but the first session, which was designed to focus on the new tyre market’s recent trends and statistics began with a presentation from James Ward.
Following US$20 million of investment, Vipal Rubber has started production at its new tread rubber and pre-cured tread factory in Argentina. Located in the Perez, province of Santa Fe, Argentina, the new factory will supply the Argentine and export markets.
Continental’s nine-month 2020 figures show the tyre and automotive supplier “did remarkably well operationally in the third quarter” despite the “still very volatile market environment”, according to outgoing CEO Dr Elmar Degenhart.
On 26 October 2020, The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 statutory instrument was made. Three days later it was laid before Parliament. It comes into force on 1 February 2021. As a result, 10 year-old and older commercial vehicle tyres will be illegal in the UK from the 1 February 2021. And therefore, the Tyred campaign to ban old and dangerous tyres led by Frances Molloy has achieved a key goal.
When Ineos Automotive brings its Grenadier to market in early 2022, the Land Roveresque 4×4 will wear bespoke Bridgestone Dueler A/T 001 tyres as standard equipment. Bridgestone will supply two sizes of Dueler AT 001 for the Grenadier: 265/70 R17 116S XL and 255/70 R18 116S XL.
During the last 18 years GRI has expanded significantly. Across the material handling, agricultural and construction segments, GRI now produces a total of 100 tonnes of tyres a day. Most recently the company added new mixing capacity in a bid to expand the company’s overall production output. So how does this particular action fit into the wider strategy? Tyres & Accessories interviewed GRI managing director Prabhash Subasinghe in order to find out.