By Nathan Cooper

  • There are over 40 million tyres going on to cars in the UK each year. Three-quarters of these are replacement tyres, with the other quarter going on new vehicles for the first time.
  • Considering all vehicles, over 100,000 tyres are being fitted to vehicles every day in the UK.

Next year, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) will account for no less than 22% of all new passenger car and LCV sales, based on the government’s plans for a Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate. In light of the lower service and maintenance requirements associated with BEVs, there has been an increasing call for a franchised dealer service department to increase their EVHC focus on tyres, specifically in identifying and concerting Red Work (essential repairs that pose a potential safety risk or operating failure).

The perceived wisdom is that electric vehicles will get through tyres more quickly than a comparable petrol or diesel car. The reasons given for higher tyre wear include the increased size/weight of EVs; the majority are heavy SUVs, which, when combined with the weight of a large battery, makes them extremely heavy. The exceptional torque offered by EVs plays a role in shortening the tyre replacement cycle and, potentially, regenerative braking as well. It is widely held that the most significant factor in increased wear is, in fact, the driver as they enjoy that impressive torque!

Overall, EVs are an opportunity to increase tyre revenue for franchised dealers. However, it needs to be realised. The UK tyre marking has been broadly flat according to research by GfK, but even though they are often in a poll position to identify ‘risky’ (Red) tyres, the conversion of such opportunities was a disappointing 34.73% in the October–March six-month data, down by 6.01% on the preceding six months through what is arguably the worst of the UK’s seasonal weather. It is a conclusion based on our extensive access to dealer performance data.

Are we disappointed to be reporting this trend? Yes, of course, but we are delighted that the power of our analytics is providing a benchmark for this crucial opportunity for retailers so that they can start to take corrective action. We have heard some novel solutions, such as recruiting dedicated tyre specialists, which would enable master technicians to focus on higher value work, increased POS and online promotion of tyre services, notably on myth-busting high-cost perceptions and price matching.

We hope it works, but at least we have and will continue to shine a light on the tyre opportunity and how well retailers are performing.