Recession still has a grip on UK tyre sales

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 UK, 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.”

For more on Minouche Shafik’s address to the IoD visit: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/news/2015/870.pdf