It’s up to you to encourage commercial van owners to invest in winter tires.
The selection of commercial vans in the Canadian market is the largest it has ever been, and it is growing. The “panel van” is becoming a larger part of the vehicle population on our highways.
Today you can buy commercial vans from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Ram. These vans are available in various sizes—everything from the small Nissan NV200 to the huge extended and high-topped Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 Dually.
Vans vs. pick-ups
Never has the Canadian market had such a wide choice of commercial vans, and vans are rapidly replacing the pick-up truck as the delivery vehicle of choice. Yes, the van costs more, but it carries more goods, keeps the goods dry and secure, has a lower load floor, has a longer load floor and in many cases has a better turning circle.
Once you get past the higher initial cost, you realize that the van is a better and more efficient vehicle than a pick-up, and can actually deliver operational savings over its life that wipe out the initial higher cost of purchase.
Who is operating commercial vans? The plumber, the electrician, the courier company, the baker, the telecom contractor, your tire distributor, many types of businesses big and small that need to move goods and tools to make the sale. These vans have to be on the go for their owners to make money, and they have to be on the go through the winter. These vans can’t “work from home” when there is snow.
Vans need winter tires
Winter can bring snow, ice, sleet, cold wet roads and high winds—challenging conditions for any vehicle, but more challenging for commercial vans. For example, an empty van has a higher centre of gravity and presents sides to the wind that can act like sails. The driver may feel the van getting pushed sideways by the wind.
Many vans have longer wheelbases to facilitate the large cargo area. When the van is empty this creates a very light rear end. Under hard braking, the load transfer to the front axle is severe, thus further unloading the rear axle and reducing the contact patch of the rear tires. This will negatively affect braking and vehicle control, especially in many of the adverse road conditions of a Canadian winter.
Both the above points highlight the importance of having tires that provide the best traction for the driving conditions.
A great opportunity
Commercial vans present a great selling opportunity for winter tires. We all know that winter tires provide the best traction and the highest level of safety for winter driving. A company’s commercial van, or its fleet of commercial vans, is critical to their business. Commercial vans have to be “on the go” in various road conditions through the winter.
Educate your customers with commercial vans on the importance of winter tires. A relatively small investment in winter tires will bring ROI in operational dependability, efficiency and safety.
Remember, these vans are carrying loads, and so you must fit the correct winter tires as per OE specifications to maintain the load carrying capacity of these vehicles. Do the right thing.
Getting through the winter, making deliveries and service calls in winter conditions… this is a serious business. Encourage your customers to equip their commercial vans with winter tires to help them make deliveries and service calls efficiently and safely in winter driving conditions. Encourage them to get serious and do the right thing.