By Hugh Wallace, managing director, Arnold Clark Vehicle Management
Throughout our 50 years in business, I have seen huge leaps forward with regards to technology, safety and environmental initiatives.
The vast majority have been for the better. However, there are some areas in need of improvement.
Drivers are promised cost savings through certain manufacturers’ ‘no spare tyre’ policies.
The substitution of spare tyres with inflation kits is geared towards fuel and emission reductions. But to what other cost?
Consumers aren’t always aware that tyre inflation systems don’t work on every kind of flat tyre.
And even if they are successful, these tyres need to be washed out for re-use, or worse, discarded and replaced.
RAC figures show that more than 80,000 of its call-outs last year were from drivers who had no spare tyre and had encountered limited success with sealant kits.
It has since suggested that the use of a repair kit is surplus.
The end result of these policies is an enormous waste of man-hours, resource and expense.
In addition, many new cars are fitted with tyres that surpass the required specification.
I understand it can make the vehicle more visually appealing to aid sales, but this is exaggerated in some vehicles whereby the tyre’s speed rating far exceeds the car’s performance capabilities.
What’s more, tyre manufacturers pass on discounts to car companies on certain tyres to assist trade.
These discounts are not necessarily being passed on to the consumer; rather they are used as a bargaining tool in ‘free upgrade’ deals to secure sales.
The main issue arises when these tyres need to be replaced.
More often than not, consumers will want to replace these with like-for-like tyres, resulting in unnecessary expense, unbeknown to them.
Overall I believe that vehicle and tyre manufacturers need to work together with fleet companies.
This will ensure that a mutually beneficial outcome is achieved, with a long-term view of continually increasing customer satisfaction – aiding future sales and growth for all.