Figures for new commercial vehicle registrations have revealed 2014 has been a “predictably slow year” as the market continues to feel the effects of the introduction of Euro 6 legislation, according to UK commercial marketing manager for Continental, Tracey Hyem.
Speaking at a pre-Christmas media briefing, Hyem described the results for 2014 as unsurprising, due in part to the rush to register Euro 5 models before the legislative cut-off dates. Year-to-date figures released by the SMMT have shown that total registrations for trucks in 2014 are down by nine per cent, with bus and coach registrations also down this year, by three per cent.
Despite this, the month of October saw truck registrations jump by around 70 per cent, which Hyem attributes largely to the introduction of the European Directive for Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA), which came into force on 1stNovember. Hyem explains: “WVTA requires any new commercial vehicle to have an approval certificate for both the truck and body before registration. The spike seen in October indicates the natural rush to beat its introduction.”
In contrast, Hyem notes an increase in trailer production of over 20 per cent compared to 2013 figures and an increase of nearly 45 per cent from 2012. Hyem cites a buoyant UK economy within the transport sector driving demand for new trailers as a reason for the rise in production, as well as a number of older existing trailers which should have been replaced during the recession and are now in desperate need of renewal.
Turning her attention to the UK tyre market, Hyem went on to say that the replacement market has once again seen an increase in 2014, following on from last year’s strong results. “We are forecasting an increase of around eight per cent on 2013 in the UK,” she says.
The Republic of Ireland paints a slightly different picture with forecasts suggesting the Irish market will finish five per cent down on 2013. However this could be ascribed to a surge in imports of European brands, which are not recorded in the statistics as Irish sales. A broader view of Europe shows the market is up by three per cent in 2014, with the strongest growth (seven per cent) recorded in Western Europe.
Compared to previous years there has been very little change in the demand for different application areas. Regional tyres continue to dominate both the UK and Irish market, accounting for 83 per cent of replacement new tyre sales in the UK and 86 per cent in Ireland. Long distance tyres represent around seven per cent of the market in both countries with construction and urban making up just 10 per cent of the UK market and six per cent in Ireland. Despite urban applications featuring as the smallest sector of the market, 2014 has seen its share increase by 20 per cent.
Hyem reveals analysis has shown no significant changes in the top five most popular sizes of tyre sold here in the UK and Ireland. “In the UK the top five sizes make up 71 per cent of sales in 2014 and 81 per cent in Ireland. We do however expect to see changes to the most dominant sizes in the future. We predict 315/70 22.5 to move into the top five driven by the increase in Euro 6 vehicles on the road, which we expect will replace 295/80 22.5 to cope with the extra weight.”
With the company’s emphasis firmly on new innovations to lower operating costs for its customers, Continental Tyres has participated in further research during 2014, with full results due to be issued in the coming weeks. Hyem did reveal some key trends, including a significant increase in the number of fleets likely to fit a tyre pressure monitoring system.
2014 has seen success for a number of innovative products brought to market by Continental Tyres, including new generation tyres and tyre pressure monitoring systems.
“Our generation 3 products have been very well received by the market both here in the UK and Ireland. We have also had great success with our ContiPressureCheck, tyre pressure monitoring system which we updated in late 2014 with a new feature, Automatic Trailer Learning (ATL). ATL is able to automatically and wirelessly detect each trailer tyre, even when the trailer is changed.
“In 2014 we also launched the first hot retreaded 3rdgeneration tyres produced at our ContiLifeCycle plant in Hanover. The ContiRe EcoPlus HT3 is the retreaded version of the new trailer tyre Conti EcoPlus HT3 and maintains all the same benefits.”
Continental Tyres in the UK and Ireland is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Continental Corporation. Continental develops intelligent technologies for transporting people and their goods. As a reliable partner, the international tyre manufacturer, automotive supplier, and industrial partner offers sustainable, safe, comfortable, customized, and affordable solutions. The corporation with its five divisions Chassis & Safety, Interior, Powertrain, Tyre and ContiTech generated sales of approximately €33.3 billion in 2013 and currently employs around 189,000 people in 49 countries.