Apollo Tyres Ltd has taken over reifencom GmbH. The company, which operates the brand reifen.com, is one of the leading retail organisations in Germany and has 37 branches nationwide. With 2,500 assembly partners in Germany, the successful internationally oriented online portal reifen.com, and other activities in Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and Denmark, the company is the second largest online tyre dealer in Europe. This takeover will allow Apollo Vredestein (a fully-owned subsidiary of Apollo Tyres Ltd) to develop clear benefits for established partners in the German and European tyre trade.
The acquisition is part of the strategy of Apollo Tyres Ltd to expand its retail network in the European market. reifencom GmbH was founded in 2001 and employs over 400 people at its headquarters in Bielefeld and Hanover as well as in its retail stores. The takeover will permit Apollo Tyres to support the expansion activities of its subsidiary Apollo Vredestein, which include major investments in the European premium brand Vredestein. Vredestein is distinguished by a particularly broad range of UHP (Ultra-High Performance) summer, winter and all-season tyres. Apollo Vredestein also has major plans for growth via an expansion of its original equipment activities – the tyre manufacturer is laying the groundwork for this through the current construction of a new plant in Hungary.
Given the evolution of the tyre sector towards an ever fewer number of independent trading partners, Apollo Vredestein is facing a growing and increasingly complex online market. In this sense, the acquisition of reifencom GmbH is a sound strategic extension of the value chain. The aim is to increase sales activities, intensify customer support and make customer orientation more consistent, explains Mathias Heimann, CEO of Apollo Vredestein BV (Enschede).
“The integration within our company allows us to very clearly enhance our presence with regard to end customers, creating a significant competitive advantage,” says Heimann. “We are convinced that all our recent trade partners will benefit from increased brand awareness for Vredestein. Moreover, the need for consultation with end consumers is growing. This is not only due to the new tyre pressure monitoring systems: the selection of products, in particular, has also become very complex. We can meet this high demand for advice even better in cooperation with reifen.com. Our goal is to continue growing in tandem with our partners, which makes it particularly important to bring products and customers together.” In addition, the company aims to optimise its logistics concept. This will be achieved through measures such as the optimisation of delivery times, allowing storage capacity to be decreased and higher margins to be realised at all stages.
Heiko Knigge and Olaf Sockel, managing directors of the reifencom group, agree. “We look forward to even closer cooperation with Apollo Tyres. Apollo’s commitment will permit us to achieve our goals in the German and European retail market faster and more effectively. We will contribute our strengths – especially in the area of customer service and logistics – wholeheartedly to Apollo, and we firmly believe that the future partnership will make both companies even more successful.”
“We have been working closely with the founders of reifen.com for 26 years, and have followed their rapid growth with great interest,” continues Michael Lutz, Country Manager of Apollo Vredestein GmbH (Vallendar). “We look forward to an even more intensive cooperation, which will give us excellent prospects for the further development of the business. The close links with the reifen.com network will not only permit Apollo Vredestein to develop a stronger brand presence – our established partners in the tyre sector will also benefit significantly, mainly thanks to increased price stability. Meanwhile, our tyre trading partners will of course continue to receive the maximum support they are used to.”
This will benefit partners of Apollo Vredestein in assembly plants as well as wholesale trade in the form of more efficient market development and intensified marketing activities. “The experience that we can accumulate through activities such as our advertising and sales promotion measures for Vredestein products in the reifen.com network will also be brought to bear directly to support our longstanding partners in the tyre sector, improving the efficiency of all activities,” concludes Michael Lutz.