Apollo Tyres has launched the new Apterra AT2 rubber for SUVs in India. The Apterra AT2 tyre builds on the virtues of the Apterra AT unit that was launched before and adds some more. These tyres are in HL, HT, AT and HP configurations. Here the 'H' stands for Highway/High and the 'T' for the terrain. The tyres are being rolled out in phases and the first lot will be launched in eight sizes including replacement units for the Fortuner and XUV500. Currently only the 16-18-inch sizes are available in the first phase. As far as prices go, Apollo says that they will command a 10 per cent increase over the current range of Apterra tyres. The prices will still be lower than that of, let's say, Bridgestone. Apollo is currently retailing the Apterra AT2 tyre, for the 16-inch version, at approximately Rs 5,700/unit. The 18-inch unit is for Rs 10,250 approximately.
The second phase will have six different tyres sizes and these will be expanded to even 20-inches and together, Apollo aims to cover 90 per cent of the market in India for all-terrain tyres. The tyres were co-developed by the Netherlands and Chennai teams. They will be manufactured in Vadodara, Gujarat.
These tyres have a patented tread design with 3D interlocking sipes, tread with DPF technology and the shoulder design with SAW-Tooth technology. The company claims that this provides a higher level of traction. Triplex casing and high tensile steel belts make the tyre highly durable and impact resistant. The herringbone grooves take care of water drainage and claim to provide better control during off-roading. Stability too is taken care off with the visibly wider tread pattern. Moreover, the grooves have been designed in a way that small stones don't accumulate and are instead ejected while the tyre is in motion.
Apollo also said that the used car market still hasn't changed much. In fact, it is growing. The company aims to cater to these markets as well with the new tyres. Currently, in the passenger segment, most of the OEMs prefer Apollo Tyres including the new entrants in market like the Seltos, Venue as well as Hector. These tyres are premium compared to others in the segment and hence it will be priced slightly higher. Moreover, these tyres will co-exist with the others in the Apollo range. Apollo says that Bridgestone is the market leader right now, however, the AT2 tyres still are priced lower than them.
Apollo is also building tyres for EVs. However, there is no specific investment involved in these as they are almost similar to that of IC engined vehicles. Only the rolling resistance has to be lowered. NVH too has to be taken care of as with silent electric engines, the regular tyre noise gets accentuated.