Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre manufacturer, is considering acquiring up to 500 tyre garages in the UK to go head-to-head with retailer Kwik-Fit.

The Japanese company is seeking to buy eight to 10 regional automotive retail groups within a year and merge them into one brand, a source told The Telegraph.

“Taking on Kwik-Fit is vital to Bridgestone’s success in the UK,” the source said.

“Ultimately, retailers — not manufacturers — decide what customers buy through recommendations, so it’s important that we own the whole process. There are currently blockages in reaching the end user.”

Bridgestone already has 2,200 US retail locations under its Firestone brand, which it purchased in 1988. The firm was reportedly involved in bidding for Kwik-Fit, which has more than 600 outlets in the UK, when it was put up for sale in 2010. The retailer was eventually acquired by Itochu from French equity owners PAI Partners for £637m in 2011.

Bridgestone, founded by Shojiro Ishibashi in 1931, has long struggled with market share in Europe despite its position as number one globally. The prevalence of native brands, such as Pirelli and Continental, means there is a substantial gap in the company’s sales compared with the market leader, France-based Michelin.

A spokesman for Bridgestone Europe said: “When we talk about strategy and building the future, we’re putting the basis down now. We’ve done a lot of work in 2013 and are still doing a lot of work in 2014.

“We may know where we want to go but we do not necessarily have all the elements in place to execute that strategy. It is ongoing work, but at this stage, we wouldn’t exclude looking at acquisitions.”