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Risk management Cold weather tyres fleetnews.co.uk/SME September 2011 25The manufacturer claims this offers 55% better braking in the snow compared with a standard tyre, the equivalent of 28m at 30mph. It says the specialist tyre also boasts 41% better grip than a standard tyre.Continental Tyres says that on snow, its cold weather tyres offer a stopping distance of 35m at 31mph - eight metres less that standard tyes. On ice, the difference is even greater, with cold weather tyres stopping in 57m at 18.6mph - 11m less than standard tyres.Are cold weather tyres a necessity or luxury?The view on cold weather tyres within businesses tends to be quite mixed, with some arguing that the UK does not have severe enough weather to warrant specialist cold weather tyres and others that believe it is a necessity to drastically reduce risk during the winter months.It was clear at a recent meeting of ACFO - the leading vehicle fleet operators' association - that the debate on cold weather tyres looks set to continue. Many members stressed the importance of more leasing companies adding a cold weather tyre option to the overall lease as there is much confusion around the costs of storage. Furthermore, fleet managers debated whether or not cold weather tyres could be worn all year round to eliminate the extra costs of storage.Some fleets have already opted for winter tyres. Online grocery shop Ocado fitted cold weather tyres to its 700 home delivery vans last year. The company had to rescue only six vans over that period, compared to 200 vans a year earlier. It also met 98% of delivery orders. Other companies, including British Gas and DHL, have also success-fully switched to cold weather tyres.There has also been evidence to suggest that as well as reducing the number of accidents in poor weather, the level of damage is reduced and is therefore less costly and results in less vehicle downtime.Educating businesses and driversTyre manufacturers admit much needs to be done to educate UK companies and drivers on the safety benefits of cold weather tyres. Despite numerous marketing initiatives and help for manufacturers, businesses still seem slow to make the switch."Levels of awareness among drivers have risen over the need to match tyres to road conditions, but the orders we're holding for cold weather tyres shows that, in general, the business sector remains slow to respond," said ATS Euromaster's group sales director Peter Fairlie.Juergen Titz, director, consumer tyres at Goodyear-Dunlop UK, adds: "Selling winter tyres is all about selling it for the right reasons, which is safety and getting vehicles on the road whatever the weather." "We need to educate businesses of the available cost savings from using winter tyres."Supply issuesTyre manufacturers have warned that anyone interested should start to make arrangements soon to ensure stock can be allocated."We have a very clear forecast and working closely with an organisation would enable us to clarify supply in advance instead of impulse or late orders which may not be fulfilled," says Kate Rock, PR manager at Goodyear-Dunlop. "Our advice to those businesses that are still pondering over the idea of fitting cold weather tyres this winter is to make a decision and get in touch with us as soon as possible so that an allocation can be confirmed."She adds: "To further spread the message of the benefits of cold weather tyres, we will be executing a full marketing and PR campaign to raise awareness. "We are also working closely with our dealer network to ensure supply and delivery is optimum and in line with forecast."Tom Whittaker, fleet sales manager at Continental Tyres, says the key is planning ahead."Organisations need to consider winter tyre policies and whether they want to make them surcharge dependent, a possible year-round fitment, a compulsory change October to March, or just when tyres wear out coming into winter," he adds.Ambulances across the Midlands will be driven on cold weather tyres this winter.Both the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) will use Michelin's Agilis Alpin and Alpin 4 tyres across their fleets - a total of 530 ambulances and 308 rapid response cars.Graham Cann, WMAS regional head of fleet, says: "I was aware of the potential of cold weather tyres for cars in general, but we were keen to test them on our ambulances. "The difference in braking distance and handling was quite remarkable."For some of our patients every second counts. If using cold weather tyres reduces journey times to these patients by even 30 seconds, it could be the difference between life and death. That has got to be something worth doing."Steve Farnsworth, EMAS fleet general manager, says: "The past couple of winters have seen severe weather conditions across the East Midlands which has put pressure on our service and our ability to reach patients quickly.Both fleets will be fitted with cold weather tyres by ATS Euromaster in October and early November, as the tyres' performance benefits become apparent when temperatures drop below 7ºC.Every tyre removed by ATS Euromaster will receive a thor-ough safety inspection before being stored for the winter, ready for re-fitting during late March and April 2012. The part-worn cold weather tyres will then be inspected before being stored for the following winter.'Every second counts' as ambulance services switch"Awareness among drivers has risen but the business sector is slow to respond"Peter Fairlie, ATS Euromaster group sales directorThe FleetNews viewI attended a recent Goodyear-Dunlop event at the Tamworth Snowdome and witnessed for myself the clear performance distinctions between cold weather and standard tyres. Two cars (both identical Ford Focuses), one with a standard tyre (Goodyear Excellence) versus the new cold weather tyre (UltraGrip 8) attempted to climb the indoor ski slope. It was surprising how much the Excellence tyre struggled on the slopes and it did not make much progress before sliding back on to level ground. The UltraGrip 8, however, easily managed to climb up the ski slope. The car even managed to brake in the middle of its ascent, before carrying on to the top.

26 September 2011 fleetnews.co.uk/SMEWe focus on the vehicles with the lowest running costs in their sector10of the bestCity carThe Pixo is one of the least expensive five-door cars on sale and that also holds true for pence per mile running costs. Although it is almost identical to the Suzuki Alto, a combination of a lower P11D value than the Alto with similar running costs gives the Pixo the edge when it comes to low-cost transport.Small carNissan has just launched the DiG-S engine in the Micra range. It is based on the existing 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine, but here it is supercharged resulting in both higher power and lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. It helps illustrate that diesel isn't always cheapest when it comes to small cars.Lower-medium carKia has made a significant shift into offering running costs competitive with other mainstream models. Part of the success is down to its cars being more sought after by used car buyers, helping shore up resale values. When comparing five-door lower-medium hatchbacks, the 80bhp diesel Ceed works out cheapest. Nissan Pixo 1.0 VisiaEmployee costsP11D value £6,940CO2 (g/km) 103BIK % 10Taxable value £694Tax (20%) £139Tax (40%) £278Skoda Superb 1.6 TDI S Greenline IIEmployee costsP11D value £18,850CO2 (g/km) 114BIK % 13Taxable value £2,450Tax (20%) £490Tax (40%) £980Volkswagen Touran S 1.6 TDI Bluemotion TechEmployee costsP11D value £19,945CO2 (g/km) 121BIK % 18Taxable value £3,590Tax (20%) £718Tax (40%) £1,436Nissan Micra 1.2 DiG-S VisiaEmployee costsP11D value £10,945CO2 (g/km) 95BIK % 10Taxable value £1,094Tax (20%) £219Tax (40%) £438Kia Ceed 1 1.6 CRDi Employee costsP11D value £14,640CO2 (g/km) 113BIK % 13Taxable value £1,903Tax (20%) £381Tax (40%) £761Employer costsFirst year VED £0Subsequent VED £0Class 1A NIC £96Running cost 19l.57ppmResidual value £2,100Lowest lease rate £168 per monthEmployer costsFirst year VED £0Subsequent VED £30Class 1A NIC £338Running cost 32.26ppmResidual value £6,925Lowest lease rate £335 per monthEmployer costsFirst year VED £0Subsequent VED £95Class 1A NIC £495Running cost 34.24ppmResidual value £7,275Lowest lease rate £318 per monthEmployer costsFirst year VED £0Subsequent VED £0Class 1A NIC £151Running cost 23.56ppmResidual value £3,350Lowest lease rate £190 per monthEmployer costsFirst year VED £0Subsequent VED £0Class 1A NIC £263Running cost 30.14ppmResidual value £3,825Lowest lease rate £261 per monthUpper-medium car Skoda is gaining a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality cars that are inexpensive to run. The Superb is one of the largest cars in its class, with unrivalled interior space, but in Greenline guise it is also the cheapest to run of all new upper-medium saloons and hatchbacks.Seven-seat people carrierRecent changes to the Touran range, including adding fuel-saving Bluemotion Technology variants, has helped it beome the cheapest seven-seat people carrier to run. It already scored well for low depreciation, but now it is also among the most efficient to run in its class.