Tyre manufacturer Vredestein has entered the fleet market after winning a deal to supply budget airport parking company Purple Parking’s Heathrow branch.
The deal means Purple Parking’s fleet of Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit minibuses will be fitted with the firm’s Comtrac and Comtrac 2 all-season tyres.
Vredestein’s deal follows its announcement of its intention to become a player in the fleet market for the first time. “We’re fairly small in Europe, but our parent company [India’s Apollo Tyres] aims to become a top 10 tyre brand in Europe, and to do that the fleet market is key,” Karl Naylor, Vredestein UK country manager told What Van?
Naylor conceded that entering the fleet market and becoming a key player in the tyre arena will not come quickly. “We’re coming into the fleet market for the first time, but we’re not aiming for a 10% market share, straight away,” he said. “We’re looking at starting small.”
He claimed the company’s tyres are on a par with the likes of Michelin and Bridgestone products, but without their prestige, the company needs to take a different approach to gain market share, and Naylor told What Van? he prefers to allow fleets to trial the tyres for long periods rather than “wheeling and dealing”, and trying to undercut the opposition.
“If we make a tyre that isn’t in the top three I’ll go back to R&D and say ‘try again,’ Naylor said.
“We’re looking to pitch in at about 80-85% [in cost terms] of Michelin but we’re sure we’re as premium as they are,” he added. “But we don’t have their marketing budget.”
At present, the company has just one distribution centre in the UK, and Naylor said the Purple Parking deal suits the operation perfectly as the vans are going backwards and forwards, close to the centre.
“It’s scalable,” Naylor said. “So we could end up at Gatwick and other airports around the country if it takes off, though we’d need to find a new distribution centre.”