FirstGroup, Bridgestone sign $110 million tire deal

ABERDEEN, Scotland –FirstGroup, the parent company of three North American bus operations, has signed a five-year, $110 million deal with tire supplier Bridgestone.

The deal is FirstGroup’s first international procurement agreement for direct goods or services, and is also the largest commercial fleet contract in Bridgestone’s history.

The contract will see Bridgestone, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, supplying tires to more than 60,000 of FirstGroup’s buses and coaches in the United States, Canada and the U.K.

FirstGroup’s North American subsidiaries are Greyhound Lines, First Student and First Transit.

As part of the agreement, Bridgestone will provide tires for all of FirstGroup’s vehicles in the U.K. and around 80 percent of its operations in the United States and Canada.

“We are delighted to have agreed to this global contract with Bridgestone,” said Glen Lovett, group procurement manager for FirstGroup. “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.”

Lovett said the 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.”

In negotiating the contract, Bridgestone had to demonstrate flexibility to meet specific needs of the fleet, which will predominantly run on UAP-001 tires, featuring different tread patterns unique to each market.

“This is a hugely significant announcement for the whole team at Bridgestone and a partnership that we’re extremely proud of,” said Greg Ward, commercial sales director for Bridgestone. “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 tire 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 U.S. and U.K. teams was never an issue.”

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