TYRE APPOINTMENTS COULD REVOLUTIONISE THE LEASING INDUSTRY, SAYS MICHELIN
Stoke-on-Trent – April 4, 2013
Company car drivers should book appointments for tyre replacements in advance to avoid unnecessary waiting times and guarantee availability, according to Michelin.
Michelin’s Head of Fleet Dave Crinson, believes there needs to be a wholesale shift in the way drivers view tyre appointments because of the sheer number of tyres now available.
In the last ten years at Michelin alone, the number of car and van tyre sizes and ranges available has doubled from 400 to 800, due to a combination of tyre technology developments and a wider variety of models requiring a greater range of load and speed ratings. Michelin has an additional 275 lines of cold weather tyres available.
This diversity can mean drivers who arrive unannounced at fast-fit suppliers can be inconvenienced, either by having to fit a second or third choice tyre, or worse still by having to return at a later date.
Crinson says the UK fleet industry can learn lessons from Europe where company car drivers are used to booking tyre appointments in advance as a matter of course.
“In this country we are fortunate enough to have a wide choice in the items we buy – from computers to furniture or even cars. And in the majority of cases, if people want a specific or unique item they know not to expect to walk into a store and instantly get what they want,” he said.
“It’s the same with services. No one expects to get an appointment with a doctor or dentist immediately unless it’s an emergency, and drivers would always expect to book ahead for an MOT or vehicle service. It is my firm belief that people need to start thinking of tyres in this way.
“It’s unrealistic to think that every tyre dealer will have every single tyre line in stock at all times and for fleets there are consequences in terms of the fulfilment of tyre policies. Unless drivers give advance warning, they jeopardise their chances of getting their first choice tyre.
“Of course there will be times when drivers need emergency assistance if a tyre is damaged or punctured, but for general replacements people should plan ahead and book appointments.”
Michelin says the most popular tyre for fleet and retail customers currently is the 205/55 R 16. In that tyre size alone Michelin has 10 derivatives including Energy Saver+, Pilot Sport 3, Primacy 3, run flats, as well as others specific to vehicle manufacturers such as Audi and Mercedes.
Kwik Fit’s Fleet Sales Director, Peter Lambert, agrees with Crinson, recommending customers phone ahead.
He said: “We have 800 centres and stock between 1,200 and 1,500 tyres per centre, but gone are the days where you can turn up at a centre and almost guarantee they will have the specific tyre you need.
“We always have the most popular sizes in stock, however if your vehicle’s tyre size is less common or you want a specific brand, that’s when it is a good idea to phone in advance.
“Some people do phone in advance; today it’s predominantly retail customers. We would encourage all customers – retail and fleet – who have busy schedules and want to minimise time spent in the centre to phone first, check we have their tyres in stock and identify a good time for them to come in and have them fitted.”
At ATS Euromaster the team is looking to set up an online booking system for tyre appointments for the leasing industry.
Group Sales Director, Peter Fairlie, said: “We are currently working on a project to offer lease vehicle customers the ability to book a tyre fitting appointment in our centres online. It is still early days, but we hope to add this to our range of available services later this year.
“Our colleagues at Euromaster in Holland and France already offer e-bookings and the take-up from drivers is high. In Holland alone, they receive in the region of 150,000 online bookings every year.
“Being able to offer pre-booked appointments is about making the process hassle free for customers, and ensuring we are always ready with the right quantity, brand, size and speed rating of tyres, in the right location, at the right time.”
Michelin’s new online tool Tyre Manager has been designed to help drivers track how their tyres are wearing and predict when they will need replacing.
Crinson added: “This tool could be particularly useful for fleets as it will help them budget more effectively and plan ahead for maintenance work. That could mean unexpected and lengthy disruptions will be avoided, which is important for any business.”
To manage your tyres visit www.mymichelin.co.uk/tyre-manager
Michelin, the leading tyre company, is dedicated to sustainably improving the mobility of goods and people by manufacturing and marketing tyres for every type of vehicle including aircraft, bicycles/motorcycles, cars, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks. It also offers electronic mobility support services on ViaMichelin.com and publishes travel guides, hotel & restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in more than 170 countries, has more than 113,000 employees and operates 69 production plants in 18 different countries. The Group has a Technology Center dedicated to research, development and process engineering, with operations in Europe, North America and Asia. (www.michelin.com)
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