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Group Tyre in partner talks with car brands

Earlier this year the company secured a similar deal with Porsche Cars Great Britain, and insiders expect at least one more significant contract to be agreed by early 2004.

Chairman John Church declines to name the brands in his sights, but says the Porsche and Subaru agreements show the growing importance carmakers are placing on appointing authorised outlets.

“This emphasises that in the area of replacement tyre safety we are able to meet the same standards as manufacturers' parts suppliers,” says Church. From a national network of 27 distribution centres, the Group Specialist Dealership programme offers same-day support and availability of OE tyres, including track-day covers. Dealers can check stock and order online through Group Link Virtual Warehouse which also provides delivery times.

Terry Cuttell, head of Group Tyre's dealership division, says car owners are increasingly looking to franchised dealers to provide full aftersales support.

“When it comes to something as critical as tyres, they want to deal with someone who has expertise in their particular model,” he says. Cuttell also makes the point that tyre replacement helps dealers maintain face-to-face customer contact as vehicle reliability improves and service intervals increase.

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