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Continental expands UK dealer support - BikeBiz

Continental expands UK dealer support

New sales reps appointed; warehouse move planned to cope with cycle market demand
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Cambrian Tyres, exclusive UK importer of Continental two wheel tyre products, has added two new ‘brand ambassadors’ to complement their existing bicycle brand representative Rob Scullion.

Former Science in Sport sales manager for the south east Mark Turner (pictured left) joins the team as southern brand representative for bicycle tyres whilst Graham Matcham takes on the new role of national brand manager for Continental motorcycle tyres.

According to Cambrian, Continental has seen a 28 per cent growth in sales of bicycle tyres so far in 2013, whilst Conti motorcycle tyres are the fastest growing brand in that sector.

“Continental have been known historically in the bicycle industry as a premium brand, very much led by consumer demand," explained Cambrian Tyres brand manager Shelley Childs. "What we wish to promote is the fact that our bicycle range is indeed diverse, with high margin bread and butter products also available.

“Having two reps out on the road fills two purposes, firstly to promote brand awareness to the IBDs with things like staff training and on-site merchandising to support our wholesalers sales activities, and secondly to increase our involvement with the end consumer. We’ve become partners to more events, we support more race teams and now even have our own ‘Continental powered’ cyclosportive, the Welsh Wild West which takes place each May in Aberystwyth, the home of Cambrian Tyres.”

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‘Team Cambrian’ (left to right) Shelley Childs, Alan Evans, Rob Scullion, Pete Evans, Joe Williams, Gareth Lewis and Mark Turner.

“There’s a lot of competition from both label brands as well as old adversaries these days,” Childs added. “But there is no fooling the modern day consumer. They will tell you straight, if your product is not up to the mark, word soon goes around and so to be successful, you must start with the basics – build a great product. Continental’s compound technology like BlackChili and lightweight protection systems such as Hardshell and Vectran have been well received. Conti have opened up to external opinions in recent times, none more so than their collabo- ration with the Athertons. The result? A mountain bike range that has converted even the most staunch opponent of Conti off-road tyres.”

New factory opens in China; UK warehouse move due this year
Continental has also recently opened its first fully German-owned facility in China. This three year project in Hefei is now fully functional, producing car and bicycle tyres.

Childs said: “We’ll be offering some pretty advanced products from this factory. The new Chinese made additions to our programme are already in stock and we’ll hit the ground running after Eurobike. I’ve ridden the new road tyre and it blew me away in terms of performance. Dealer margin will be very competitive and this will open new doors for us at IBDs.”

Over half of Conti's bicycle tyre reange is still made in Germany. Two programmes will run alongside each other at separate price points. Premium products such as Gatorskin clinchers and Competition tubulars plus ProTection and UST MTB tyres will be made at the continually expanding German plant in Korbach. A new range of folding race tyres, plus current standard folding MTB options will come out of Hefei and City/Trekking models like Double Fighter, Travel Contact and Plus tyres will continue to be made at Conti’s METRO Indian facility as has been the case for many years now.

Availability is also key to the Cambrian/Conti strategy and the company will soon be moving warehouses once again, due to the growth in the bicycle sector, Childs said: “We re-located our bicycle warehouse three years ago and thought we’d be fine for the foreseeable future... As it now stands, we’ll be on the move again this winter. Our tube sales have gone nuclear and an increased investment in general stock holding has taken place to ensure we meet our own high standards in terms of order fulfilment.”

Dealers can book a tyre clinic or view the latest POS by calling Cambrian Tyres on 01970 626777 to arrange a visit from one of the brand representatives. Mark Turner covers Southern England and South Wales, whilst Rob Scullion covers the North, Scotland, North Wales and Northern Ireland.

The company will also be exhibiting at RideLondon (1-3 Aug), The NEC Cycle Show (26- 29 Sept), and The London Bike Show (13-16 Feb 2014). Continental also have a stand at Eurobike in Hall B1 - 102.

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