Fleets base tyre choice “on performance rather than application” – Goodyear
Goodyear is nearing the launch of its new generation of European market truck tyres, the Kmax and Fuelmax steer, drive and trailer tyres. The new tyres represent an interesting departure from other premium brand manufacturers’ portfolio strategies, taking the emphasis off the type of operation – long or regional haul for example – and put it on the fleet’s economic priority. Speaking to Tyrepress ahead of the official unveiling of the Kmax and Fuelmax, Marc Preedy, Goodyear Dunlop UK and Ireland commercial director, said that the altered focus of the new tyres reflected a changing market.
“The commercial tyre market is evolving and our new Kmax and Fuelmax ranges have been developed in answer to these changing needs.
“We recently surveyed around 500 truck fleets from across Europe and the feedback was clear – fleets choose tyres today based on performance rather than application. We are seeing more and more fleets run mixed operations, which means choosing tyres based on only one application no longer makes sense, performance criteria has become much more important.
“At the same time operational costs are on the rise for fleets, so it’s only natural that fuel efficiency and mileage – two big cost-drivers, came out as the top criteria for fleet managers when choosing tyres.”
Both sets of tyres are currently undergoing rigorous field trials, Goodyear says, with selected European truck fleets taking part in extensive testing. The results of these tests together with more details on the tyres’ attributes will be shared at a launch event due to take place this month. Tyres & Accessories will report more from the event in next month’s issue.
In the meantime, Preedy told Tyrepress that: “Our research and development investment is ongoing and we are continually working with fleets to ensure our products meet their evolving needs.”
Truck tyre strategies
Marc Preedy also took the time to speak more generally about how Goodyear Dunlop is addressing the challenges to leading truck tyre manufacturers in the UK market, such as those from brands with lower price tags. “There are a number of newer players in the market focusing heavily on price. Our priority has always been to deliver cost-effective performance for fleets, adding real value to their business.
“The challenges facing the haulage industry have led to some fleets opting for the quick win of a cheaper tyre, but typically these fleets discover that often this is a false economy. Ultimately a fleet manager wants to control day-to-day running costs over time and this is exactly what our products allow fleets to do. Where fuel is a fleet’s biggest cost outside of purchasing equipment, that fleet will always opt for a product that generates overall lifecycle savings through fuel and mileage efficiencies.”
Though the first six months of the year have been weak in terms of growth, analysts from Clear International have issued a new report predicting demand for heavy goods vehicle trailers to grow two per cent during the course of 2013. Nevertheless, recovery had been expected by many sources to take place many times over the past few years. Typifying this situation is the reduction in size of trailer parcs in the seven largest Western European markets, responding to a 16.6 per cent drop in demand for road transport since 2006. T&A asked Preedy what business strategies Goodyear Dunlop has employed to deal with this difficult market.
“Our business strategy is about tailoring our products and service support to the needs of fleets, in terms of what they need from the performance of a tyre, rather than looking purely at the tyre’s application.
“Historically you may have had an operator that only did regional haul – a regional haul tyre would always suit his needs. But today, with consolidation in the market, one operator may be involved in different types of distribution – urban and regional, with even the occasional long haul. One size no longer fits all – it depends now on what performance attributes are most important to that fleet operator. He needs products that are versatile while still delivering on his key criteria.
“For instance on a pay-as-you-go transactional business model, an operator may want a tyre that lasts for as long as possible, whereas on a typical mileage business model where an operator is using products back to back, he may want to maximise fuel efficiency.
“We have adapted the way we approach the market to suit its needs, but without compromising on any key performance criteria. Our new products maintain strong EU tyre label scores in both fuel efficiency and wet grip, which we know is important as senior buyers and procurement directors are focusing on the label as a key buying aid.
T&A also asked whether the comparative strength of other global markets has affected Goodyear Dunlop’s TBR business strategy in the UK and Ireland.
“Our business strategy is founded on rich data in terms of forecast customer demand, raw material availability and real-time costs, which feeds continuous improvement cycles and close links with our manufacturing plants,” Preedy said. “ We benefit from being a part of a global team with a consistent strategic approach, which is then tailored for each local market place.”