The boss of Kwik-Fit Fleet has questioned the wisdom of basing replacement tyre decisions on the new tyre labelling scheme that came into operation at the beginning of November.

Although welcoming it as a “big step in the right direction”, Peter Lambert told BusinessCar that there are other factors that would need to be included before tyre labels should be used as the main decision-maker.

The new labelling, which resembles the grading seen on new fridge-freezers, covers the areas of wet grip, fuel economy and noise.

“If you make a decision based on the three attributes, you could be making the wrong decision,” said Lambert.

“It is an important step that tyre labelling be introduced but there is a limited amount of information, and you shouldn’t be making decisions based just on these three.”

Lambert is concerned tyre manufacturers might be placing too much emphasis on the new labels.

“Manufacturers are changing components to optimise the three labelled results.

“They believe tyre labelling is the be-all and end-all and will be the single biggest influence on whether they sell that tyre or not,” he said.

“These three are not the only factors: car manufactures will consider 15 attributes and tyre manufacturers 50 when they are developing a tyre.”

Lambert hopes additional factors such as dry grip and longevity could eventually be added in the next three or four years.

“What happens in the next stage is important,” he said.

“When you have five, six or seven attributes, and you’re there in covering the key factors, then it allows customers to make informed decisions.”

Lambert also said fleets shouldn’t be concerned about Kwik-Fit moves to increase retails sales through its Mobile division.

“Some fleet customers were worried it would lead to a decline in service, but it will increase the density of vans so response times will be quicker,” he said.

“There may be a van 10 miles away rather than 20.” The company is looking to double the number of vans on its fleet from the current 200 by 2015.

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