Wednesday, 23 January 2013

FIFTY SHADES OF .......................................BLACK

Ok! So what have tyres got to do with boring books? Easy; they're both boring! Or are they?
Well there's the the history of tyres that we've written about here on a few occasions. There's the marketing history which is as old as marketing itself is as a science. There's the R&D that has taken hard solid bands on trams and waggons to air filled constructions that can carry Tonnes of weight. And of course there's the mobility that they have given to us. But what are tyres actually made of?

If you've ever wondered why Bibendum is white when he's actually constructed of tyres? The answer is simple. When he was originally designed in the1890's, tyres were made of rubber. Rubber or Latex as harvested from the South American rubber tree(Hevea tree) is a milky white sap when harvested. It changes in consistency when mixed with water and other compounds and becomes elastic in texture.
With the development of rubber tyres for waggons and trams, the value of rubber  as a commodity soared. What followed was orgy of greed, slavery and destruction meted out to the South American Indians. As a people they were facing extinction at the hands of the so called rubber barons until Hevea seeds were transported to other tropical regions to be cultivated in plantations.

With the development of pneumatic tyres for bicycles in the 1880's, Carbon Black was added to improve the durability, then fabrics for support. Radial tyres (from 1946) required large proportions of steel chord for support. Oil, Hydrocarbons, Sulphur, all make up the modern tyre. In fact, these days most car tyres will typically be made up of about 20% natural rubber. The remainder being made up of the above mix and this lovely cocktail of ingredients.

The result of this is that prices of tyres are sensitive to a whole range of commodities on global markets. Natural rubber is sold by the Pound on stock exchanges and it's production can be seriously effected by weather, Tsunamis, floods , etc. Oil and steel prices change dramatically on a week to week basis.
The most recent spikes in prices and shortages of some sizes was caused by problems of supply where rubber was concerned. This appears to have stabilised and prices of tyres now seem to have reached a level where they will hopefully sit for a while.
At Heffernan Tyres, we are multi brand and so are not dependant on any one supplier. This enables us to shop around for the best value and price on premium tyres. we then purchase in bulk which again improves our price. This enables us to pass on the best possible price to our customers. And there's nothing boring about that.

No comments:

Post a Comment