Kevin Baker, operations manager at BCC, said: 'These tyres certainly make the vehicle look good and offer better grip due to the softer compounds used now. But the downside for fleet operators is that they cost more and wear out more quickly. Also, if a tyre is punctured, it is far more likely that a low profile tyre has to be completely discarded because it cannot be repaired.
'If you take a higher specification vehicle such as a Ford Scorpio, Vauxhall Omega or Rover Vitesse 800 on an average length contract of three years/60,000 miles, replacement tyres can account for something like 55% of the maintenance cost. And even on a standard Vauxhall Vectra, Ford Mondeo or Rover 620, replacement tyres can account for something like 35% of maintenance.' Baker added that manufacturers were more keen these days to add alloy wheels which normally demanded wider tyres costing anything up to £50 a tyre more than a standard one.