Modern Tire Dealer

JUN 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D J u n e 2 0 1 9 58 E u r o p e a n N o t e b o o k B rexit! e word has been hanging around like a bad smell in Europe for several years now. Will the UK finally leave the European Union (EU)? e answer to that question at the moment is still, "Who knows?" Probably, yes, but nobody is placing any bets. e UK is now scheduled to leave the EU in October 2019, but with the country now preparing to elect a new leader for the Conservative Party who will initially become prime minister, the general feeling is that "anything could happen in the next four months." More to the point: How is the present confusion affecting the tire market in both the UK and Europe, with a tremendous amount of trading taking place on a daily basis? I can also point out that there are consistent rumors and have been for some time now that other countries in the EU are quietly waiting to see what actually happens with the UK and Brexit, and "if " the UK eventually breaks away it could be the signal for other countries, including Germany and Italy, to seriously consider their own positions as EU members. When you consider that Germany in particular is viewed as one of the "strongest" members, this has to put the whole question of whether in due course the EU will collapse as a possible reality. I recently attended the biannual Autopromotec 2019 show in Bologna, Italy, at the end of May, which traditionally has been an event for the tire servicing equipment market sector in Europe. However, at this year's show there was an increasing amount of leading tire manufacturers and wholesalers/distributors in their own dedicated halls, which provided me with the perfect opportunity to speak with as many companies as I could during the show to find out the opinion within market of how the present situation is affecting business between the UK and Europe and also between one European country and another. It is also worth mentioning at this point that there has been an ongoing amount of speculation about the current EU tire labeling regulations and what will happen if the UK does leave. ere have been suggestions from the EU Commission that the regulations would not apply to the UK anymore if they leave the Union and that the UK might introduce its own tire labeling scheme. But the UK Department of Transport has recently announced that it intends to retain the EU tire labeling regulations if Brexit happens. What I actually discovered at the Autopromotec show is that most, if not all, European and UK-based tire companies in manufacturing and sales consider their present, highly enterpris- ing trading partnerships will not alter whether the UK leaves or stays in the EU. It would be unprofessional of me to confirm actual statements I received from individual companies, but the overwhelming general feeling was "at the moment there is a very free and easy movement of tires between Europe and the UK, and there is no reason to believe this positive situation will change in the future including if the UK is no longer part of the EU." When I mentioned the situation regarding the tire labeling regulations. I was informed that as a safety issue the tire labeling momentum will continue to be enforced whether in Europe or the UK. My general feeling of the whole Brexit situation and how it could affect the market if the UK does leave is that the issue has been extremely over-hyped by the media (especially in the UK). When it comes to tire sales and distribution in Europe, it is all about sourcing the best product at the right price irrespective of which countries are trading together. at is certainly what the tire companies I spoke with at the Bologna show feel, and I see no reason to doubt they are right. is article is probably a little different to my usual reports on what is happening "across the big pond," but I am sure that MTD's readers who are interested in what Brexit is all about and how it will affect the tire market over here now have a clearer view of the present situation. ■ John Stone has been working within the global tire industry for the last 27 years. In 2004 he launched his own consulting company, Sapphire Media Service, which caters to business media clients around the globe. Stone also writes for tire and automotive-related publications in Europe, South Africa and Asia. Business as usual in Europe, Brexit or no Brexit John Stone By I thought the tire halls at Autopromotec 2019 were busy.

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