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2 Feb 19

From the ground to the cloud: why Bridgestone acquires TomTom Telematics

Laurent Dartoux, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Bridgestone EMEA explains the strategy behind the TomTom Telematics deal.

Bridgestone is known as the number one tyre manufacturer in the world. Tyres remain its core business, but the group also develops building products, bikes, golf clubs, tennis balls and even anti-seismic products. Last week the company announced it has the intention to acquire TomTom Telematics., which had been for sale for quite some time.

How does that fit in Bridgestone’s portfolio and strategy?

LD: “We have engaged already several years ago in the transformation journey, whereby we evolve from our core tyre expertise towards a leader in mobility solutions. As the automotive industry evolves towards CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric), significant opportunities arise for new players on the mobility scene, and for a redistribution of the value along the value chain. Given the assets we have, there is an important role to play for Bridgestone.”

Talking about mobility services, what does that mean in practice?

LD: “The transformation towards mobility solutions already started at Bridgestone a few years ago. Today, we have a so-called ‘digital garage’, our space to drive digital innovation together with our partners, in our R&D Centre in Rome with a dedicated software and data analytics team. We have already brought to market a set of mobility solutions.”

Can you give a few examples of these mobility solutions?

LD: “First of all there is Mobox, an all-inclusive flexible subscription for tyres and vehicle maintenance. Another example is Bridgestone Connect, a tool that collects tyre and other vehicle data for analysis in the cloud. Thanks to advanced algorithms, we can send back predictive information to the customer on the vehicle’s health, including tyre wear, battery status, and so on. Finally, there is FleetPulse, a solution for small to medium fleets to optimise their operations, ensure legal and technical compliance of vehicles, and so on.”

What is the added value of TomTom Telematics for Bridgestone’s mobility solutions?

LD: “Today, our solutions gravitate around tyres and vehicles. TomTom Telematics will bring us an extension of our services towards fleets. They provide the scale that is needed and will help us accelerate to become a strong player in the mobility marketplace. Of course, there will also be cross selling opportunities between TomTom Telematics and Bridgestone.”

What could be the opportunities for TomTom Telematics that arise from this deal?

LD: “The expansion of our mobility solutions relies on three main assets. We believe that TomTom Telematics can benefit from these. The first one is deep tyre knowledge, including virtual modelling and testing and predictive algorithms for many hard tyre components. We will be able to build into the solutions that TomTom Telematics will be offering. The other asset is our vehicle maintenance retail network, consisting of 2,600 points of sales across EMEA including our Speedy, Cote Route and First Stop stores. The third one is our wide customer base, including dealers, fleets, OEMs, whose business concerns we know well and for whom TomTom Telematics could be an interesting partner.”

What will be the next steps towards the TomTom deal?

LD: “First, we need the usual approval of a few anti-trust authorities, advice from the works council for the deal to materialise. That will take a few months. The next step would be for both companies to see how their business plans can enhance each other. There are unique abilities on both sides. Putting them together will be of benefit to both companies. Finally, we will look at the other commercial opportunities that arise from this acquisition.”    

Picture copyright: Bridgestone, 2019

Authored by: Dieter Quartier
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