The 75-year milestone for Tyres & Accessories magazine is not just a moment for retrospection. Our industry is in a state of technologically inspired flux. The past 18 months of crisis and upheaval have also been a catalyst for increasing the pace of change. At Tyre Industry Publications (TIP), we have taken this opportunity to consider the role our independent tyre industry media outlets play in the rapidly changing present and future. Our value-added information continues to offer a vital service to the tyre business but presenting this information in the right way for our readers is crucial. It also presents the ideal place for the most targeted advertising to trade buyers and – with our new consumer facing site WhatTyre – in-market audiences.
We’ve notched up three quarters of a century in the business, and much has changed since the first, rationing-restricted issue of Tyres & Accessories appeared in June 1946. Founding editor Frederick Carter is long gone and a mere handful of players now represent the resurgent British tyre making industry he gave a voice to. But much has also remained constant throughout these tumultuous decades, and to this day Tyres & Accessories fulfils Carter’s original remit of providing a ”suitable forum for the discussion of all questions of vital interest to the industry and those engaged in it.”
This month we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Tyres & Accessories back in June 1946. Looking back to those immediate post-war years, comparisons can be made with the emergence from lockdown 75 years later. In the post-war period, the then still pioneering automotive business played a key role in the recovery process along with the intrinsically connected tyre trade. This time round, if the adaptability and resilience of the tyre business during the last 18 months of Covid-19-related disruption is anything to go by, things will follow a similar pattern. In both cases such events evoke genuine gratitude for the contacts, customers and friends we all have in the business. So, it is in that spirit that we begin the 75th anniversary celebrations that will continue throughout the month of June here at the front of the magazine and in a special 20-page section that begins on page 32.
WhatTyre has published the nominations for its inaugural WhatTyre Tyre of the Year Awards with a series of articles promoting the nominations, shortlists and winners of the WhatTyre Awards. WhatTyre, a tyre news and comparison site that now attracts over 75,000 visits a month, says the goal of these consumer-facing awards aligns with the ethos of the whole WhatTyre.com concept – “to help consumers find the best tyres for them and to help raise the level of conversation about tyres”.
No-one envisioned just how many challenges the tyre market would have to face this year. As has generally been the case, the trade rose to the occasion by repeatedly pivoting to adjust to mid-pandemic customer demands and government requirements. At the bricks and mortar end of the business this has meant ensuring premises are Covid-secure and there are continuing supplies of PPE – as well as maintaining high standards of tyre service and supply. However, this year has also significantly closed the gap between exclusively conventional bricks and mortar tyre retail businesses and pure play tyre e-tailers, with consumers increasingly planning tyre purchases and looking for contactless servicing options online.
The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns mean that sales of car tyres especially have sustained a harsh blow around the world. But as measures introduced to halt the spread of COVID-19 begin to be eased, motorists will steadily begin to use their cars again, increasing demand. In the car tyre sector, high value, ultra-high performance segments could prove vital, as better potential margins offer attractive opportunities for increasing cashflow quicker. The other side of that coin is that motorists’ finances are also under pressure, putting the price they pay for their car tyres under even greater scrutiny. Could this, therefore, present an opportunity for mid-range brands to make a case for their products, offering more palatable performance compromises compared with premium rivals than the lowest-priced brands?
Motoring services website, MotorEasy has acquired tyre price comparison site Motokiki. The acquisition represents the latest addition to MotorEasy’s portfolio of motoring products, which includes insurances, fixed-price repairs, MOTs and servicing, and car leasing. Motokiki was launched in quarter four of 2018, backed by £3 million of equity investment from Maven Capital Partners and the Development Bank of Wales. It entered administration just under a year later, following the resignation of co-founder and CEO Debra Williams. MotorEasy’s announcement claims that Motokiki is “the only independent tyre comparison website”, but a recent Tyrepress survey of the UK market found eight current tyre comparison websites with a variety of approaches, including the independent user review site TyreReviews.co.uk, and Tyrepress’s sister site WhatTyre.com, which uses professional tyre reviews and experienced editors to rank tyres with its Tyrescore system.
The tyre comparison website WhatTyre.com will make its exhibition debut at Autosport International, from 9-12 January (Stand 3530, Birmingham NEC). Over the four show days, the site, which is operated by the same publisher as Tyrepress, will present its tyre comparison engine, which ranks more than 100,000 tyres using a unique TyreScore algorithm. WhatTyre will also host TyreSafe, which will assist with the site’s central message that high-quality new tyres are an excellent investment for motorists.
What Car? has launched a new television advert as part of its ongoing strategy to connect Britain’s new car buyers to its growing network of trusted dealers.
The advert – which debuts on 30 December – is What Car?’s first-ever television campaign and forms part of a larger media rollout that also includes paid social content, display and print advertising throughout the first three months of 2020.
We are all familiar with the likes of MoneySuperMarket, CompareTheMarket and Confused.com. Beginning with financial and insurance products, these sites set out to give consumers more choice and the ability to compare the prices. Owing to the fact that tyres are arguably more complex, the tyre industry has moved a bit slower when it comes to comparison. During the last year or so, however, tyre comparison has come of age. So, who are the main players, what are the differences and where did tyre comparison all begin?