LONDON—Much like their counterparts in North America, tire retailers in the United Kingdom believe price influences a retail buyer's decision more than any other factor. Second, in their assessment, was dealer influence, according to an annual survey by the National Tyre Distributors Association. The other factors—brand recognition, availability, OE fitment and, finally, safety—carry little influence by comparison.
The survey results show that tire companies should spend their resources trying to influence the dealers, rather than trying to influence the customers directly, said Richard Edy, NTDA director.
The survey did not take into account the type or performance rating of the tire.
When the retailers were asked the same question about fleet buyers, price again came top, but mileage performance was second.
Hugh Pitcher, president of the NTDA, said it was possible that the tire industry has brought this situation on itself, with advertisements emphasizing price.
In another response, the NTDA members report that they are selling more mid-range and budget brand tires, but that the decline in premium brands is starting to slow.
The dealers also said that mid-range car tires bring the highest bottomline profit to their business.
This was followed closely by premium brand tires and budget tires.
The retread, or remold, market was another important issue for the NTDA, and it found that dealers were reporting lower sales of remolded tires.
Mr. Pitcher explained that in the very cheapest sector of the market, remolds were competing against used, or part-worn, tires, and used tires were winning.
``The potential of opportunity (for remolds) has been taken up by part-worns,'' he said.
Mr. Edy drew attention to a recent survey by trading standards officers in Scotland. The officers bought 40 used tires from local dealers.
None of the sample was road worthy and well over half were positively dangerous.