On both the manufacturer and distributor sides, the tyre industry is characterised by a high level of innovation and offers the potential to position itself with an even stronger international alignment. In its capacity as a nationwide trade association for trade and trades in the industry, the German Tire Retailers and Vulcanization Trade Association (BRV, Bonn) is supporting the new international trade fair THE TIRE COLOGNE, which will take place every two years in Cologne as of 2018, as an industry sponsor from the start.
"Koelnmesse stands for modernity, a growth orientation and internationality, and has proven that the location is ideal for ambitious industries", said the BRV Chairman Stephan Helm on the occasion of the European Press Conference for the new trade fair on 21 November 2017 in Cologne.
The association chairman reported on the industry situation, stating that around 207 million tyres were sold for passenger, four-wheel drive and light trucks in the tyre replacement market in Europe alone in 2016, of these around 48 million in Germany. Added to this, with a German market share of around 30 percent, were 10 million units in the second largest market segment of truck and bus tyres, as well as significantly lower numbers of units in the products of the niche segments for motorcycle tyres, tyres for agricultural and forestry vehicles, and for excavation machinery.
Although the sales figures in the two largest product groups for consumers and truck/bus are for the most part stagnating at a high level, the German association of tyre specialists is convinced that the industry need not fear for the future on the whole: "As long as primary mobility takes place with vehicles, the market for tyres and wheels is secure,” said Stephan Helm.
Changing, of course, are the requirements for the tyres, and thus also for the know-how of the workshops. THE TIRE COLOGNE will perform a very important task here with regard to knowledge transfer. Thus, for example, there will be live demos of the proper mounting of truck tyres in accordance with the latest technical guidelines, and industry experts will present and discuss the decisive trends and developments of tomorrow at the Future Tire Conference.
The companies active in the tyre replacement market also face major challenges posed by the high level of competition coupled with increasing digitalisation in the economy and society. Those who want to assert or expand upon their market position must develop new concepts for adapting to the changed information and communications habits of consumers, and the additional know-how for the technical handling of networked vehicles, as well as the professional analysis of the generated vehicle data, the industry specialist emphasised.
Especially in the economic realm of Europe, which is oriented toward sustainability, the recycling management of the product "tyres" is a theme of considerable importance for the industry. Tyre retreading, especially for utility vehicles, is the top priority, because high quality products are manufactured here with a considerably reduced expenditure on raw materials, and, with the reuse of carcasses, contributing to the preservation of the environment. The European Retreading Conference, which the BRV is organising together with the European retreading association BIPAVER for the first time in the context of THE TIRE COLOGNE 2018, should therefore not only serve the industry as an information platform, but also underline the importance of retreading for sustainable economies.
More than at other tyre trade fairs, the focus is also shifting to the theme of automotive service. "We have been observing a change taking place over a long period of time from tyre experts with a focus on trade toward service providers encompassing the entire motorised vehicle", Stephan Helm reported with reference to the German market. For one thing, this is the result of the high level of competition in all segments of the automotive aftermarket. The companies are reacting to this with diversification into business related areas, causing the boundaries between the previously relatively clear distribution channels of the tyre trade and the automotive workshop to blur.
On the other hand, both private and fleet customers are increasingly demanding a convincing complete offering of products and services revolving around the automobile from the workshop of their choice, in other words "everything from one source".