Recession Still Has a Grip on UK Tyre Sales
15 December 2015
Nearly three in five tyres are worn down to below the legal level before being changed as drivers try to save cash. At the 2008 recession less than one fifth of tread fell beneath the 1.6mm limit.
Even as the economy picks up, motorists are still risking their safety. The trend was spotted by Micheldever Tyre and Auto Services, one of the UK's busiest Tyre Centres.
A speech to the Institute of Directors by Bank of England deputy governor Minouche Shafik yesterday has highlighted the UK tyre industry as being in the grip of recession-based consumer behaviour.
Minouche cited the shifting patterns in when consumers elect to change their worn car tyres as a prime example of the way the economic downturn has shifted purchasing decisions.
The trend has been identified through data compiled by Micheldever Tyre Services Limited, which sells one in every five of the 33 million tyres replaced by UK motorists each year. It was presented to Minouche at a recent visit to the group’s Micheldever Station facility, the busiest tyre fitting centre in the world, and shows since 2008 the number of tyres that are below the legal limit at the point of replacement has grown from 15.3% to 56.4%*.
Micheldever managing director Duncan Wilkes welcomed the opportunity to turn the spotlight on a dangerous trend. He said: “Bad habits that initially evolved during the financial crisis have now become ingrained and the drivers who have formed them are now negatively influencing the next generation of motorists.
“As a result more drivers are allowing the tread on their tyres to fall below the legal minimum of 1.6mm before replacing them.
“Whilst there are advantages to consumers in becoming much more spending savvy, it is very worrying to see it having manifested itself in a purchasing decision that is paramount to road safety.
“Although people will ask about safety features on their cars and review NCAP ratings, they should remember that there are only four parts of a vehicle that actually touch the road.
“As tyres wear, their performance decreases significantly, so the stopping distances of a car with illegal tyres against a vehicle with full tread are poles apart.
“To see over half the cars coming into our garage having either illegal or borderline tyres is very worrying.”
About Micheldever Group
Since it was established in 1972 the Micheldever Group has grown into the UK’s largest independent wholesaler, distributor and retailer of tyres - selling over 6 million a year (the equivalent of one in every five tyres replaced by UK motorists).
It is the exclusive distributor of the Falken, General Tire and GT Radial brands in the UK and operates its own expanding network of 63 Protyre-branded retailers - giving it an unrivalled ability to deliver excellent customer service as well excellent value for all makes and models of cars, vans, 4x4s and motorcycles.
The business’ wholesale and distribution arm (Micheldever Tyre Services) supplies more than 4,500 UK garages and main dealers, whilst Protyre’s dedicated motorsport division is responsible for both supplying and fitting tyres in top-flight competitions including the Formula E Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup.
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