Locating qualified service technicians is an ongoing concern in Europe, just as it is in North America. I am aware of many of the apprenticeship programs that are currently on offer in the United States and Canada. However, I am reliably informed that these programs are not being embraced by workers as much as expected.
Back in this column around two years ago, I reported on the increasing growth in mobile tire installation, or fitment, services throughout all European countries. This momentum continues to gather speed and interest.
In this month’s column I want to talk about the rising success and relevance of the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) throughout Europe. TPMS is probably not high on the list of priorities for drivers, but having been installed in all new cars for a number of years now over here, the system is definitely proving to be a vital piece of equipment that aids driving safety. (In the U.S., tire pressure monitoring systems have been standard on all light vehicles since the 2008 model year.)
Over the last couple of years I have written about the ongoing campaign in the United Kingdom tire sector to place a total ban on aging tires, and in particular those over 10 years old fitted to buses and coaches. The campaign has been at least partially successful.
Once again Europe’s annual and prestigious Geneva International Motor Show took place at the beginning of March in Geneva, Switzerland. The show has traditionally been an important promotional platform for leading “A” brand tire manufacturers to showcase their latest innovative products and progressive developments for the future.
In America it has been a common practice for a few years now, but finally Europe is looking toward implementing import tariffs on all new and retreaded commercial vehicle tires that are manufactured in China.
The season of tire and automotive shows is now in full swing across Europe and the general feeling in the market is that there are now far too many events for competitive companies to either exhibit in or visit.
Tire manufacturers from around the world have long been criticized for not paying enough attention toward how their products are presented and sold to the end user by tire dealers. However, recently I have heard about an enterprising scheme in Europe that just may change this perception and attitude in the future.
The sale of defective or part-worn tires remains a thorn in the side of the tire industry around the world. We know that unsafe, unlawful tires cause death and mayhem on our roads, but the sale of part-worns is a global problem that appears to be reluctantly tolerated... that is, until now.
Although it would be fair to say that the problem of part-worn tire sales has remained at a manageable level for the European industry during the past couple of years, it is still viewed as a serious thorn in the side of the safety image of modern tires — and nowhere more so than in the UK.
While in the Akron, Ohio, area a couple of months ago I carried out a tour and summary of a number of tire retail outlets for a client in Europe to discover how the alignment market operates in North America in comparison with its European counterparts.
With this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show taking place in Vegas this month, my thoughts have recently drifted to what I can only describe as the changing face of tire shows in Europe.