These days, Avon Tyres aren’t as widely known as some of their giant competitors, like Dunlop or Continental, and that’s a shame. The brand produces a large range of tyres for vans, motorbikes, cars and motorsport — at BK Tyres, we supply and fit their high quality, competitively priced mid-range tyres. Furthermore, Avon is currently one of the few brands with manufacturing facilities in the UK — although sadly, that looks likely to change in the near future.
Let’s take a closer look at the story behind the company.
The Avon brand has been around for a long, long time. According to F1 fandom, the company started life way back in 1885 as Avon Mill, a clothing mill on – you guessed it – the River Avon in the South West. It soon moved to Melksham in Wiltshire, becoming the Avon India Rubber Company. The company’s first tyres were for bicycles, produced in 1900, but by 1906 they had moved on to their first tyres for cars. The company’s website dates their tyre manufacture from 1904, so perhaps that’s the year they switched names to Avon Rubber. Answers on a postcard!
Along with tyres, Avon Rubber produced all sorts of other rubber-based products at Melksham, including tennis balls, bath mats, gas masks and conveyor belts.
Avon became a British manufacturing success story. You can get a feel for this from the company’s short video.
In 1997, the tyre business side of Avon was sold to the American firm, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. Avon Rubber became Avon Protection plc, which as the name suggests, specialises in personal protection equipment.
In the years since then, the British manufacturing facility has been under pressure. With rival brands making their tyres in countries with cheaper labour costs – and in larger facilities – the Wiltshire plant has struggled to remain competitive.
In 2018, Cooper announced that it was relocating some of Avon’s range to be manufactured outside of the UK, leaving the British facility producing tyres for motorsport and motorcycles.
Then, a few days ago, came this unwelcome news:
The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe announced today (Thursday, October 13) that it is to begin a consultation process on the proposed closure of their tyre production site in Melksham UK by the end of 2023. Citing that it had been “increasingly challenging” to keep operations open in the current business environment.
Although that may be the end of Avon as a UK-made product, the brand will carry on – we assume. The makers have accumulated plenty of expertise and has a reputation for research and rigorous testing.
How good are Avon tyres?
It has to be said that Avon tyres don’t tend to grab the winning spots in tyre comparisons. As an example, their ZV7 tyre couldn’t match most of its rivals on a Tyre Reviews test. But good though those tests are, some of the scoring criteria may not be that relevant for all drivers. The Avon tyre delivered good fuel economy and low tyre noise at a very reasonable price. Judging by the positive feedback which Avon tyres receive on owner-based review sites, the brand does more than enough to satisfy most drivers’ everyday needs.
The BK Tyres blog carries news, views and information on tyres and related subjects. BK Tyres supplies and fits tyres throughout South Oxfordshire, including the communities of Abingdon, Didcot and Henley on Thames. As an independent, family run mobile provider, we provide exceptional levels of service and affordable prices. Contact us today.