Dealers and franchises’ share of the tyre market has dropped significantly over the past two years while garages and fast fits have seen theirs grow.
According to Continental UK, in 2006 dealers and franchises had 8.7% of the industry.
This slumped to 6.4% in 2007, while garages and independent mechanics saw their share increase from 27.3% to 29.7%.
Fast-fits grew by half a per cent although autocentres dropped from 5.2% to 4.5%.
It is not surprising that some sections of the market grew. According to a survey by Kwik Fit last month, 21% of motorists said they were unable to check their tyre pressures, which shows how little knowledge most motorists have when it comes to maintaining their tyres.
The reasons for the drop in dealers and franchises’ share appears to be a lack of focus, as well as the fact that manufacturers are recommending a particular tyre for specific vehicles.
This means anyone offering a fitting service must have an extensive knowledge of the products on the market and know which vehicles they are compatible with.
In addition, a huge variety of tyres must be stocked either on site or nearby so the customer doesn’t have to wait too long while a replacement is found.
James Bailey, communications manager for Good Year Dunlop, says keeping a driver waiting for a couple of days while awaiting delivery of their tyres could see them shopping around for another supplier.
Bailey feels the best way for dealers to get back into the market was to employ a tyre specialist.He says: “A good example is something like an MPV such as the Vauxhall Zafira.
We could fit a tyre exactly the same as Vauxhall, but it may not have the correct load capacity sufficient for that vehicle.
“Having a tyre specialist means you can give the correct advice to keep the customer safe.
“For example Dunlop design the tyre for the Vauxhall Astra
Nurburgring Edition –Dunlop Sport Maxx.
“There are other tyres that suit this vehicle, but if the customer wants the exact dynamics for it, then they need this tyre and this is where a tyre specialist can help because of their knowledge.”
Sports cars are another area where specialist knowledge can help because many manufacturers insist their vehicles are fitted with a tyre that has the right speed rating.
- Read this story in full in the 12 Dec 2008 issue of AM. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.