CINCINNATI — First Student parent company FirstGroup has signed a $110 million contract with tire supplier Bridgestone.
The five-year deal is FirstGroup’s first international procurement agreement for direct goods or services. It is also the largest commercial fleet contract in Bridgestone’s history.
The contract will see Bridgestone supplying tires to more than 60,000 of FirstGroup’s buses and coaches in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
As part of the agreement, Bridgestone will provide tires for all of FirstGroup’s vehicles in the U.K. and around 80% of its operations in the U.S. and Canada.
“Bridgestone were able to engage with FirstGroup on a global basis, enabling us to leverage our size and scale,” said Glen Lovett, group procurement manager for FirstGroup. “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.”
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.
“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,” said Greg Ward, commercial sales director for Bridgestone. “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.”