The relentless technical evolution in the automotive field, with increased performances, greater safety, new designs and growing environmental awareness has, over the years, focused on two vital safety components, wheels and tires.
Technological innovation, industrial policies and the role of the associations in relation to the transformations currently taking place, were among the main topics addressed at the 42nd Conference of the Italian Garage Equipment Manufacturer’s Association, which was held on December 11 at the Association’s headquarters in Anzola dell'Emilia (Bologna).
With 2017 now behind us let’s take a close look at how the tire distribution channels fared. The focus of our observation is the “consumer” tire segment, therefore we will analyze the sell-out results on tires designed for cars, SUVs and 4X4s as well as light commercial vehicles.
In spite of the popular saying, a book can be judged by its cover, at least sometimes. And this is certainly true when it comes to multi-service centres: the fact of having a workshop designed to integrate new skills in a dedicated space and suitable working methods must be considered a vital prerequisite for success, just as adequate tools, instruments and solutions which are certainly not lacking. Time and investments can make a difference but not as much as new ideas.
Nowadays, purchasing tires means, at least as far as fleet services are concerned, purchasing a series of services rather than just the needed goods. Focusing exclusively on price could mislead fleet managers into making mistakes that would translate into higher operating costs in the short/medium term. Many operators are beginning to realize this and are progressively changing their management strategies on this vital component:
Hankook adjusts the course but not the destination. Despite recent strategic changes at the top, the final objectives remain the same: "to be recognized as a premium brand worldwide, while preserving our values, offering innovative products and services", says Stefano Alessiani, Hankook Italia’s marketing manager.
New distribution agreements and a larger warehouse represent for Hella Spa, the Italian subsidiary of the German components network specialized in OEMs and high-end spare parts, as well as independent and fast repair services, an additional business opportunities. Three are the brands involved: HellaHengst, HellaPagid and Don in addition to a catalogue that is already offering head and tail lights, electronic devices, electrical systems, cooling systems, air conditioning, brakes, starter motors, alternators and wiper blades.
Since 2013, Michelin has been supporting transport fleets through a specific division, Michelin Solutions, which currently employs over 900 people and assists approximately 400 thousand vehicles operating throughout Europe. Seven different offers are currently available: Effifuel, Effitires, Effitrailer and four new digital services. Michelin Solutions works with a team of partners to guarantee the best service to its customers, services such as Tyrecheck, which takes care of inspecting the tires supplied by Michelin.
Throughout the European Union, the mandatory use of tire pressure monitoring systems on passenger cars (M1) – on new approvals since November 2012, and on all new registrations since November 2014 - has been ratified by Regulation (EC) 661/2009 "concerning type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units". This Regulation, which brings under one umbrella the many rules scattered in numerous Directives, simplifies and strengthens the rules on vehicle type-approval to ensure greater safety and environmental protection. It involves the use of low rolling resistance tires, tire pressure monitoring systems, as well as stability control systems, lane departure warnings, emergency braking devices, etc.
There is a hidden yet urgent issue, in the Italian infrastructural scene, that needs to be addressed for the safety of road users. We are specifically referring to oversize transport especially after that terrible 28th October 2016, when an overpass collapsed near Annone (Lecco) on the SS 36 highway, highlighting the actual fragility of bridges, viaducts and other Italian road works.
November 16, 2017 will probably go down in history as a pivotal date in the technical evolution of heavy duty vehicles. In Hawthorne, California, Elon Musk unveiled the first Tesla electric truck: the Semi (how Americans usually call an articulated truck).
Within five years, 18% of Europeans will buy cars online, while 79% will go for a hybrid solution, using the web at some stage during the buying process and going directly to the dealership for others. The remaining 3% will keep doing everything through an authorized retailer, without using the web: these are the main results of a survey carried out by Motork and presented during the IAB Internet Motors event (http://www.internetmotors.it), one of the most important digital automotive events in Europe, now in its fifteenth edition.
Following the announcement made in 2014, and after more than three years of preparation and planning, the new German Tire trade show is ready to open on May 29, 2018: The Tire Cologne aims to become a new landmark in Germany’s industrial landscape as well as Europe’s rubber industry – with a good chance of succeeding, as the organizers of Koelnmesse can count on BRV’s strategic sponsorship, the German association of tire dealers and retreaders.
If we look at the progress made by technology over the last 25 years, it seems thatmalware or data theft is an unavoidable constant, one that follows each technological milestone. Here are some examples.