An increasing number of van fleets are choosing mid-range tyres at replacement to reduce costs, according to Kwik Fit Fleet.
Currently, half of replacement van tyres are mid-range and fleet director Peter Lambert (pictured) said: “The majority of van tyres are replaced due to damage rather than wear. That is unlike the vast majority of company cars where 80% of tyres replaced are due to wear.
“As fleets are not always getting maximum benefit from their investment in premium brand tyres, managers are choosing to limit their cost exposure and opting to fit a higher percentage of mid-range tyres to vans.”
Approximately 10 tyre sizes account for 80% of the light commercial vehicle market so Kwik Fit is changing the stock profile across its more than 600 centres to reflect changing fleet trends with a growing number of mid-range tyres available.
Van tyre consumption increases
Light commercial vehicle tyre consumption is growing as an increasing number of vans join the UK fleet - particularly due to the rise in home deliveries as a consequence of the internet shopping boom.
But also fuelling tyre replacement is an ever-increasing focus by van operators on at-work driving safety; fleets downsizing to vans having previously operated larger vehicles; businesses, notably utility fleets, turning to leasing vehicles having previously purchased their vans as well as cars; and Kwik Fit’s leasing company customers’ focussing on expanding their commercial van fleet operations.
Car tyre consumption reduces
Tyre consumption by company cars is reducing for a number of reasons including:
- Reducing mileage particularly as company cars become the transport of last resort for many fleets seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, trim fuel bills and limit their occupational road risk exposure by encouraging employees to increasingly opt for alternatives: telephone conference calls, video conferencing, public transport etc.
- Rising demand for cars funded via salary sacrifice programmes which typically clock up less mileage than traditional company cars.
- The increasing fitment of telematics to vehicles as well as in-car and van cameras are driving improvements in on-road driver behaviour which is delivering reductions in fleet maintenance costs including tyre consumption.
Little change in overall volume of new tyres
The overall volume of new tyres fitted to company cars and vans by Kwik Fit has remained broadly constant during recent years and fleet Lambert forecasts little change in that figure in 2015.
He said: “While Kwik Fit’s overall volume of fleet tyre replacement business will remain largely static, we are witnessing changes in the shape of the market. Van tyre consumption as an overall share of our fleet business is rising, while company car tyre consumption is contracting.”
Average tyre consumption across Kwik Fit’s fleet customers is approximately 1.85 tyres per vehicle per year, however in reality replacement varies enormously with some light commercial vehicle fleets fitted with as many as five new tyres per year.
Company car replacement tyre authorisation is almost exclusively on a like-for-like basis and that means up to 95% of models are fitted with premium brand tyres - Michelin, Goodyear, Pirelli, Continental and Bridgestone.
Looking forward, Lambert said: “We expect the trends that we have witnessed in recent times continuing in 2015, although much will depend on the outcome of the May 7 general election.
“The newly elected Government will be determined to raise revenue from whatever sources it can, while continuing to cope with significant public sector funding shortfall.
"As the new Government seeks to balance the books, future changes in taxation could have an impact on vehicle use and therefore tyre replacement.”