Fleet News

Tyre firm chief in scathing attack on 'forces that threaten our existence'

MONTINEX, the parent company of FTM Tyrefit, has launched an attack on all its major competitors in the tyre supply industry. It also left the National Tyre Distributors Association in disarray after threatening to withdraw its membership.

The threat from Mike Bridgman, chairman and chief executive of Montinex, was made at a conference billed as an opportunity to outline a series of new initiatives and future strategies to win a larger slice of the estimated £170 million fleet and contract hire tyre management business. However, Bridgman used his keynote speech to single out tyre manufacturers, their equities, car dealers - and Kwik-Fit - as 'forces that threaten our very existence'.

The threats he made regarding his relationship with the NTDA come after a tumultuous fortnight for the association during which five manufacturer-owned equities left en masse. Kwik-Fit's chairman Sir Tom Farmer then hinted that his organisation may join up after years of deliberate absence. In his speech to about 180 representatives from FTM's dealer network Bridgman said he had told Richard Edy, director of the NTDA, that if Kwik-Fit joins he will withdraw Montinex from the association immediately.

He told the conference: 'Kwik-Fit has publicly said its aim is to grow its network to 1,000 branches. This growth would be by the development of greenfield sites - in itself draining more business from the existing retail arena. Kwik-Fit already has the lion's share in the fleet sector taking some 50% of the market. Kwik-Fit has a strategy totally unsuited to what should be the objective of the NTDA. Its strategy is one of dominance within the market and not co-operation with the remainder of the independents.'

He added that should Kwik-Fit be 'prevented' from joining the NTDA, then he would put himself forward as its president next year and provide the financial funding from Montinex that would 'fill the void' created by the loss of subscriptions from the five resigning equities. Montinex, the UK's largest privately-owned fast-fit group, acquired FTM Tyrefit in May. At this time Bridgman said he had no intention of confronting Kwik-Fit.

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