ERJ staff report (TP)
London – Continental Tyres unveiled their new EcoPlus range for 2014 and reviewed the company’s annual performance at a media briefing on 6 December.
Tracey Hyem, commercial marketing manager, believed the year had been a “mainly positive if mixed picture” in terms of the truck, bus and coach market.
“In the UK we are forecasting the replacement market for new [CV - commercial vehicle] tires will increase about 14 percent on 2012 with a five percent increase in Ireland. Across Europe as a whole the overall market sales of new replacement tires are up by about eight percent,” she said.
These rises mean the CV tire market in 2013 will stand at 890,000 in the UK and 93,000 in Ireland.
Hyem said they are also seeing an increased interest in their ContiPressureCheck tire monitoring system. This prevents downtime caused by tire failure, and lower overall operating costs by ensuring correct tire pressures are maintained at all times.
She said feedback for the ContiPressureCheck has been “good” so far, but they need more time to get the full picture. When the ERJ asked how much time they required, Hyem said the company would wait until the CV Show in Birmingham (UK) in April 2014.
Continental’s generation 3 tires began this year with the launch of a dedicated bus and coach range, and the launch programme will continue in 2014 with a focus on the goods sector, followed by new construction tires in 2015, and finally a new range of winter products in 2016.
The goods tires will make their UK debut at the CV Show in April, beginning with the long distance, ultra-fuel-efficient Conti EcoPlus. The range will be available for steer, drive and trailer from early 2014 in the most popular sizes, with further sizes being added throughout the year.
A further development in Continental’s commercial tire range is the renaming of all products as they switch to generation 3, to ensure the application of individual tires are immediately recognisable to customers.
Away from commercial vehicles, Peter Robb, passenger brand manager, discussed the car, 4x4 and van tire market.
He said Continental estimates the UK market will still be worth around 35m tires. Although this number is similar to 2012, there have been some very notable trends in 2013. Part worn tire sales are estimated to now represent around 10 percent of the total market as “consumers look for ways to cut the cost of motoring, however much of a false economy this is”.
Robb said that EU label values are starting to influence the consumer purchase decision when buying tires online. However, within the dealerships the all-around performance of the premium tire still seems to be the main buying criteria. The quality segment continues to come under the greatest pressure, and this segment has struggled to maintain share as a result of “aggressive” pricing strategies at both ends of the market.
The overall market has seen an increase of 1.7 percent compared to 2012. The main growth driver was the 4x4 segment (+22 percent), which has now overtaken the van market (-0.2 percent). The car market stayed relatively steady with a small increase of 0.2 percent compared to 2012.
Continental still expect the 4x4 tire market as a segment to continue to grow in the future, thanks to the proliferation of models such as the Range Rover Evoque, which appeal to new consumer segments.