Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

Bridgestone secures FirstGroup global fleet partnership

From L-R: First Bus managing director, Giles Fearnley, Busway supervisor David Holt, Bridgestone North Region MD Robin Shaw and Bridgestone commercial sales director, Greg Ward.

The FirstGroup fleet contract covers operations in the USA and Canada in addition to the UK. It is Bridgestone’s biggest commercial fleet contract in its history, a $110m, five-year deal with transport operator FirstGroup. Bridgestone will supply tyres to more than 60,000 of FirstGroup’s buses and coaches in the USA, Canada and the UK.

Greg Ward, commercial sales director for Bridgestone, said: “This is a hugely significant announcement for the whole team at Bridgestone and a partnership that we’re extremely proud of. To win the contract, we needed to demonstrate our value and ability to deliver on a global level in order to stave off stiff competition from a rival premium tyre manufacturer.

“We had a strong goal to become the number one supplier to FirstGroup and, as such, we demonstrated an ability to act as a global company with a ‘one team’ philosophy, meaning that the geographical distance between our US and UK teams was never an issue.”

As part of the agreement Bridgestone will provide tyres for all of FirstGroup’s vehicles in the UK and around 80 per cent of its operations in the United States and Canada. In negotiating the contract, Bridgestone had to demonstrate flexibility to meet specific needs of the fleet, which will predominantly run on UAP-001 tyres, featuring different tread patterns unique to each market.

Glen Lovett, group procurement manager for FirstGroup, said: “We are delighted to have agreed this global contract with Bridgestone. Having first begun working together through a fleet agreement in Leicester in 2004, we have seen significant achievements and built up a solid working relationship over many years.

“Many organisations – whilst global in nature – retain a regionalised market focus but Bridgestone were able to engage with FirstGroup on a global basis, enabling us to leverage our size and scale. This agreement will provide the flexibility that we need to manage a huge fleet of vehicles on both sides of the Atlantic, including our local buses, coach services, and school transportation.”