Santaco president Phillip Taaibosch at the Bridgestone Taxi tyre launch in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Monday (Facebook, Bridgestone)
The South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco), the biggest taxi formation in the country, on Monday called on all taxi drivers to use Bridgestone tyres ahead of those produced by its competitors.
Speaking at the launch of Bridgestone’s new 14inch Bridgestone Taxi R15 tyre in Johannesburg, president Phillip Taaibosch said he wants Santaco to adopt a resolution at its 2020 conference for members to only use Bridgestone tyres.
The new R15 tyre is a specially-named version of the tyres that currently come standard on Toyota minibuses, and will feature SA Taxi and Bridgestone branding. Bridgestone will be offering the tyre for R1,322.50 to SA Taxi members, compared to the roughly R1,700 it currently retails for.
Under a three-year-deal, SA Taxi will receive rebates for tyres sold to its members, which it said it will then use as incentives for taxi owners in South Africa.
All second-hand taxis sold through SA Taxi will also come standard with the new tyre.
Taaibosch said he doesn’t want to make comments outside of the launch for fear that the Competition Commission reprimands him for anticompetitive behaviour – but said he wants the new tyre to be added to the agenda of all Santaco branch meetings.
“We need to inform everyone about the deal,” Taaibosch said, adding that the deal will improve road safety in South Africa as it will be more affordable for taxi owners to replace tyres.
Bridgestone South Africa’s Christo Jansen van Rensburg said the taxi industry has been an overlooked and underserved market that needs a premium product.
“There are an estimated 150,000 minibuses in South Africa producing R50 billion in revenue, owned by 50,000 owners who employ roughly 200,000 people,” Jansen van Rensburg said.
The new Bridgestone Taxi R15 tyre.
He said 20% of road accidents in South Africa are estimated to be tyre-related.
Bridgestone, with a 84-year history of manufacturing tyres in South Africa, will make the new tyres available at Supaquick outlets across the country.
SA Taxi’s communications officer Maroba Maduma said incentives will encourage drivers to replace tyres more frequently.
“We are calling these tyres the safest option for taxi drivers, as there are a lot of imported tyres in the market of poor quality but they are exceptionally cheap, making them more affordable,” Van Rensburg said.
“We know that with our cheaper pricing we are going to displace the inferior product on the market, and therefore improve the durability of tyres used.”
“These tyres have been approved by the (car manufacturer) and there are simply not a lot of (approved tyres) on the market.”