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Insight: Battle for fleet tyre business intensifies

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The battle to win tyre business from fleets and leasing companies is intensifying after another ambitious provider outlined its strategy for securing market share.

Fleet Tyre Network (FTN) has spent the past six months developing a network of 750 independent sites in the UK, including around 150 mobile providers, together with access, if required, to a further 260 Halfords’ outlets.

The result is the country’s biggest network of tyre fitters, equating to more than 1,000 sites – 50% greater than the 670 offered by market leader Kwik-Fit.

However, that could grow to more than 1,500, with nine franchised dealers trialling the system and talks ongoing with two car manufacturers that could give access to an additional 750 sites. 

Nick Bennett, FTN’s managing director, told Fleet News that it wanted to offer the market a service which delivered according to a customer’s need. “That’s what the tyre companies have forgotten,” he said. “They’re doing it on the basis of ‘how do I sell more tyres?’ and that’s what we’re trying to change.

“If you make customer service your number one priority, tyre sales will follow.”

Bennett has spent around 30 years in the leasing industry, holding senior positions at companies including Interlease, Arval and Lombard Vehicle Management (LVM). More recently he worked for GE at a European level sourcing vehicles for the leasing giant.

He is spearheading the company’s drive to establish its place in the market and has recruited a former LVM colleague, Richard Jones, as customer relationship manager. Jones’s most recent role was national sales manager of Avis Rent-A-Car.

The nine-strong team also includes a tyre expert, who is charged with running the network and is a former employee of tyre dealers Micheldever – a shareholder in FTN.

However, Bennett believes their leasing background is key to understanding what both leasing companies and drivers want, with cutting downtime and customer service their biggest priorities.

And it appears to be paying off. Jones wouldn’t name names, but told Fleet News that he already has three leasing companies onboard and will have seven by Christmas, with six out of these top 20 FN50 companies.

Bennett said: “That’s based on us offering a customer service-based alternative.” He also expects it to “up the game” of the other providers.

FTN has announced its intentions just weeks after Profile Tyrecenter revealed it was recruiting independent tyre dealers to target the leasing and fleet sectors.

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