Recent correspondence with a national tyre distributor reported a positive first quarter for sales and the tyre industry has reported growth year on year, which is positive news given the market turbulation over the last two years.
The main issues facing the tyre industry have not been demand but supply, due to Covid disruption, Brexit uncertainty and new regulations, and the blockage of the Suez Canal. These issues subsequently caused supply issues. This significantly affected the supply of budget tyres and as a result, the cost of these soared close to that of mid-range.
As we move into Q2, tyre stock is starting to return to normal as the impact of Covid lessens. However, China are continuing to struggle with Covid restrictions which may have an impact down the line.
This all largely sounds like positive news, however there’s a ‘BUT’… Our national tyre distributor is predicting a significant price increase as the supply of raw materials and tyre production has been significantly affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are yet to see the ramifications of this but we are predicting tyre prices will start to rise towards the end of Q2.
Thankfully the supply issues of recent years seem to be behind us as stock returns to normal levels, however the increase in tyre materials and production will see consumers having to pay significantly more for their tyres in the not-too-distant future. Add this tyre price increase to the already inflated cost of fuel, motor oil, and replacement parts and we could see a wider impact on the automotive industry, as people abandon their cars for alternative methods of transport.
Tyre manufacturers are continually investing in R&D and product development and the motor trade has seen impressive advances over time. Certainly, in recent years, the improvements made to winter tyres is of particular notice. Although we haven’t seen large quantities of snow in Somerset for some time, many of us have horror stories of cars losing control in such conditions. Obviously, our tyres’ ability to grip the road is dramatically reduced on snow and fitting winter tyres can provide improved levels of friction. This is great, I hear you say, but it rarely snows in southern Britain so what’s the point in fitting winter tyres just in case of a sudden down pour of snow? Well, there may be more point than you think...
Extensive braking tests have shown that winter tyres provide far higher levels of grip in wet conditions, on ice and in temperatures below 7 degrees centigrade. Winter tyres are made of a different compound rubber than summer tyres and this compound stays softer at lower temperatures. In temperatures below 7 degrees the rubber in a summer tyre can start to harden, reducing the tyres ability to grip the road.
It may not surprise you to know that in the UK the average temperature between October and March is below 7 degrees and usually very wet indeed, which is precisely the conditions winter tyres have been designed to cope with. Our recommendation to our clients (providing you have room in the garage) is to fit a set of winter tyres for use through October to March, and store them away in the garage for the rest of the year. It will keep you and your family safer on the winter roads. For more information on tyres or for orders/fitting, please give us a call. 01823 617790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Grave, Mark Lawson