Don’t give up on tyres

  23 December 2013

Once again I find myself writing about my experiences in the retail world, and once again (after last week’s holiday booking) it is good news for franchised retailers.

A slow puncture (aren’t modern tyre pressure warning systems great?) meant an unscheduled trip to Kwik-Fit.

I chose Kwik-Fit because it was on my way to the supermarket for the weekly shop and also because I’ve been there before and they repaired my puncture quickly. I was hoping for more of the same.

Unfortunately, this time I needed a new tyre – and I wanted a match for the Bridgestones on the other three corners. The receptionist told me that Kwik-Fit had “fallen out with Bridgestone over their pricing policy, so we don’t sell Bridgestones any more”.

However, he said there may be some left in the network. He found me a tyre; it was £440. My jaw dropped.

I searched via my mobile for better prices. I soon found a match for well under £300 and walked out – feeling thankful it was a slow puncture. I then did more searching online to find prices very similar, but that often didn’t include fitting or needed to be delivered to me first.

That’s when I phoned my local franchised retailer, who quoted an all-inclusive figure that was competitive. So, by the time you read this I’ll have nipped in to my nearest Mazda dealer, had my tyre replaced and saved nearly £200.

According to Trend Tracker, tyres are the first point at which customers defect from the franchised network. But as I’ve seen, even against the fast-fits and online tyre firms, franchised retailers can still win on price.

So if there’s one thing you look at while preparing for the New Year, why not think about promoting your tyre programme?

And if you want to know more about tyre programmes and the state of the UK market, January’s Auto Retail Bulletin has, as it happens, a report looking at this very subject. If you’re not a subscriber, you can get a free trial.

Meantime, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2014.

Tristan Young

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