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Van tyre usage increases as company car consumption declines

The company says that 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.

However the trend is also being driven by an ever-increasing focus by van operators on at-work driving safety as well as fleets downsizing to vans having previously operated larger vehicles and businesses turning to leasing vehicles. In addition, Kwik Fit’s leasing company customers are focusing on expanding their commercial van fleet operations.

Meanwhile, tyre consumption by company cars is reducing for a number of reasons including a reduction in mileage, as fleets increasingly encourage employees to opt for alternative methods of working, and rising demand for salary sacrifice schemes, whose vehicles typically clock up less mileage than traditional company cars

Furthermore, 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.

Fleet director Peter Lambert explained: ‘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.

However, while many van fleet operators continue to opt for premium brand tyres there is a growing trend towards mid-range replacement tyre policies.

Currently half of replacement van tyres are mid-range and Lambert 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.

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.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.