The UK’s leading trade journal has been scrutinizing the performance of tyre retailers throughout the country.
Tyres & Accessories has published an in-depth report on tyre prices and customer service based on 1800 mystery calls made up to the end of March 2008. The report highlights the average price of tyres, broken down according to speed rating. The mystery shoppers also reported on which brands were most heavily recommended by retailers, and on their reasons for recommending certain brands.
The report found that the average price of W/Y/Z rated tyres was £106.80, while V rated tyres were retailing at an average price of £68.40. The average H rated tyre sold for £65.20, and S/T rated tyres sold for £49.70.
Prices varied widely according to the outlet. National fast-fit chains were the most expensive averaging a retail price of £72 per tyre. Autocentre and regional independents maintained an average of £65 per tyre, while car dealers and local independents were the cheapest sources with an average of £56 charged for each tyre sold.
These differentials can be explained, in part, by the different products offered by various retailers. The independent retailers seem to be very price-driven, generally preferring to recommend budget tyres. The mystery callers were recommended generic budget tyres on 28 per cent of calls. Branding also seems to be important, with both Firestone and Michelin being promoted on 11 per cent of occasions.
It may be a reflection of the current economic climate, but it appears that retailers are promoting tyres according to value for money and tyre durability at the expense of performance. The report also underlines the fact that, as in so many cases, the cheapest way to buy is online.
As from June 2008 Tyres & Accessories will be making these reports a regular feature in their publication.