New tyre labelling, bridgestone

Independent Tyre Centres

Independent Tyre Centres

Independent Tyre Centres
Independent Tyre Centres

Independent Tyre Centres

What part will independent tyre centres have?

This has always been a subject close to my heart. I have worked in the tyre trade now for a good 40 years, and like many more like me, we started our own tyre businesses in the seventies and eighties.

So we have now resigned as members of the independent tyre group. Due to the fact that they were becoming too large, I thought they were ineffective.

The majority of us used to work for national companies that were then under the ownership of the top tyre manufacturers before deciding that we could succeed in running our own businesses. Many ex-managers for companies like Tyreservices, a Goodyear-owned subsidiary, and National Tyreservices, who were then owned by Dunlop, decided that if they could run a depot for someone else, then they could do it for themselves, so they looked for premises and started their own businesses.

Here in West Yorkshire. I can think of at least six people who worked for the national  retailers. Then leaving to start their own  businesses. Some also worked for the tyre manufactures. Of course, the likes of Morris Palmer in Hull, who left Goodyear tyres to form the famous Savoy tyres ! Now run by his son. This was happening all over the UK. Revolutionized the way that tyres were sold.  To the growing market and expansion of the car market. Most households had a car by then and business was good and profitable. So, I started a business that we called Kut-Kost tyres. Accordingly, we grew into three depots and made a good living.

The advance of the tyre wholesaler. Independent Tyre Centres

Life went on for a few years and as we were selling more tyres,. Of course, then, the manufacturers were offering better deals . Many of us were tempted to buy in quantity. We were at this stage having to compete with the emerging Kwik Fit Tyre Discount stores . Including the ever-more competitive Nationals.

Before computers! Local newspapers would have up six different adverts. Offering all sorts of deals to the motorists. Driving down the tyre prices! Followed of course by lower profit margins. Significantly, buying containers was a way of increasing our bottom line.

At this stage we were all on a different level and knew who was the competition and could price our products accordingly to compete. What we didn’t see was the growing number of

wholesalers that were springing up all over the country and were growing at an alarming rate. I remember my first visit to Southam tyres in the old Rolls-Royce factory in the midlands and was in awe at the amount of stock he carried. Reg Bond also started his empire around the same time, forming Bond International from an old warehouse in Pocklington North Yorkshire and the rest is history.

Many  retailers started to buy better deals, shifting their purchases from the manufacturers to the  wholesalers in our relentless search to maintain our profit levels.

Many other things were happening, but looking back I think that this was a mistake and it gave too much power and the wholesalers, who later decided to form their own retail outlets in direct competition to ourselves, but we are all fighters and with some ducking and diving we always seem to come up with some alternative supplies of tyres and battle on.

Then, I sold Kut-Kost to Superdrive, a newly established American business that is a Shell Oil company. Kwik-Fit had expected Superdrive to provide direct completion, but when the project fell through, Kwik-Fit eventually purchased my old depots from Superdrive. I then purchased and developed the business that I am in now, Pellon Tyres here in Halifax and 25 years on, we are going through the same torrid times that we had to endure in the early days.

In the past two years, the tyre market has seen some huge changes. Independent Tyre Centres

The development of the internet and the rising popularity of online shopping among motorists are to blame for these changes. I have no problem with that and indeed, as one of the Norths Independent Tyre centres,. I sell tyres online but not at a national level. But in the Yorkshire catchment area. The internet has now made it possible to buy tyres from the rest of Europe, of course, which are now in direct competition with the British wholesalers. In my opinion, it is a good thing and drives down the price of tyres . So, the tyre manufacturers are the companies that are once again making good profits. Of course, as they did in years gone by, they would deal with retail outlets directly.

More disruption in the tyre world is ahead of us .Independent Tyre Centres

I must admit that I was feeling vulnerable as I was stuck out on my own in little Halifax. Not knowing who was going to buy out what. Just like the seventies and early eighties. The next thing to come along! Has been the emergence of the Giant supermarkets wanting a slice of the tyre cake.

I must confess that I have embraced the chance of earning extra profit by fitting for these companies. But I have a feeling that we may be “bitten in the bum” by these companies. The latest rumor that I picked up. Was that the Tesco/Blackcirces combination were going to turn some Tesco sites into tyre fitting operations. Similar to Costco’s operations (as an update Michelin tyres have now bought Blackcircles). (So to update this then the Tesco-Black Circles deal never happened).

If this is a fact, then I fear that it will start a new round of competition from the big tyre companies

All jostling to keep up their tyre numbers. I meanwhile think that I have made a good move by once again after many years dealing with the big five manufacturers. With all the benefits that brings,.

As I said earlier, we Independent Tyre Centres are tough, and I am sure that whatever is thrown at us (now including the Corona Virus),. We will struggle until these disruptions pass, and we will see better days again.