Vredestein has put fleet operators at the heart of its growth strategy as it aims to put more of its tyres on UK roads in 2017.
The company, part of global tyre giant Apollo Vredestein, is focused on balancing an increase in both supply and demand as the company increases production and its distribution network.
A new factory in Hungary is set to double the company’s production capacity, which will support controlled growth with fleet clients in the UK, explained country manager Karl Naylor.
He told Fleet News: “The fleet market is integral to our growth ambitions as it accounts for such a large proportion of annual vehicle sales. We are looking for controlled growth, rather than being aggressive. It is all about getting tyres on the shelf, so you have the distribution network to support client requirements.
“There is no point having a big contract win in the fleet market if you have not got the distribution network to support it. So the network is an important part of our strategy.”
In addition to building on the 1,000 outlets providing its brand, the company is focusing on ensuring its car and van tyres are on choice lists, either through direct contracts with fleets or by being an option offered through leasing suppliers.
Currently, Vredestein has relationships with a number of small fleets in conjunction with their local tyre retailer.
Exposure to the fleet market will benefit the business in a number of ways, Naylor says, with increased sales generating greater brand recognition in the new car market and even providing positive benefits after vehicles have been defleeted.
He said: “Having tyres on a fleet choice list and on new vehicles says something about the brand, but also when a vehicle is defleeted and it is time for a consumer to replace their tyres, there is a greater likelihood they will ask for a like-for-like replacement.”
Raising awareness of the brand is important for Naylor so customers understand that although the Vredestein name may be new to them, the company actually has a heritage stretching back more than a century to the start of the modern motoring era.
Vredestein has historic expertise in all-weather and winter tyres including several industry firsts, such as its all-season tyre with runflat technology and the first all-season and winter tyres with a high-speed Y rating.
It also has a partnership with famous Italian design agency Giugiaro dating back 20 years.
It was acquired by India-based Apollo Tyres in 2009, itself a global brand and an indication of the combined group’s scale comes from Apollo’s recent announcement that it had become the global tyre sponsor for Premier League football team Manchester United.
Naylor is keen to educate fleets about Vredestein’s focus on premium quality tyres that have a competitive price point compared to rivals. Its range covers more than 600 tyre choices, equivalent to 90% of potential tyre options, he says.
To encourage customers to use its range, Vredestein is offering a comprehensive two-year warranty on its tyres, including accidental damage, damage due to impact and non-repairable puncture cover.
Naylor said: “The guarantee gives fleet managers and transport managers peace of mind, particularly when they are dealing with a new brand.”
The fleet growth programme has already achieved early successes, including a deal to supply Purple Parking’s 150-strong fleet with its Comtrac and new Comtrac 2 All Season tyres.
Tyre dealer Tomato Tyres ran tests on Purple Parking’s vehicles for the best all-round tyres for the fleet before choosing Vredestein’s Comtrac range as the most suitable.
Purple Parking operations manager Steven Rowlerson said: “In our business, downtime due to problems with our vehicles is something to avoid at all costs; fitting premium quality tyres actually results in cost savings and increased safety, while Vredestein’s warranty provides extra peace of mind.”
Ricky Mitchell, Vredestein fleet and lease manager, added: “Vredestein proved we could secure substantial annual financial savings for Purple Parking.”