Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone is looking to scale up its manufacturing capacity by over 10 percent next year amid the demand surge in both OEM and aftermarket segments, the company’s India head, Parag Satpute has said.
He also said that the company is working on rolling out its EV tyre technology in the domestic market, which is expected to see a higher penetration of electric vehicles amid the government’s increasing push for green mobility.
Bridgestone already has tyres catering to the EV segment in Europe, Japan and the US.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the Pune-based Bridgestone India caters to both passenger and commercial tyre segments with as much as 20 percent market share in the aftermarket domestic passenger car tyre market.
The total size of the aftermarket domestic car tyre segment stands at around 2 million tyres per month.
“We are running at a very healthy capacity utilisation across both plants as in the last three years we have been adding capacity in a phased manner. Because of this healthy utilisation, we are planning to bring on stream even more capacity in the next year,” Satpute told PTI in an interaction.
Bridgestone India has two manufacturing facilities—one each in Pune and Pithampur (Madhya Pradesh) with a cumulative capacity of close to 30,000 tyre production per day, catering purely to the domestic market demand.
“Through the next year, we are planning to enhance capacity by an additional around 3,500 tyres per day as the business in India is growing so well,” he said.
He said that the company has seen a “significant” increase in its business, with volume growing by 50 percent compared to 2019 while it gained 4 percent market share to reach 20 percent in the aftermarket domestic passenger car segment in the last two years.
“It has been a good period for Bridgestone, where we have not only seen our topline growing but we have to continue to invest in technology and capacity,” Satpute emphasised.
On the demand outlook, he said that the aftermarket segment has come back to the pre-Covid level and has seen a 3-4 percent uptick in demand between 2019 and now and this is expected to continue in the coming years as well.
“We have a good view on the PV segment tyre expect this to grow 4-6 per cent as it is closely linked to the economic growth. But the truck and bus segment is cyclical, where there is growth and a bit of lull and growth again,” he added.
“At the moment this segment is growing in double digits, growing at 12-15 percent. For the short-term, this will also continue to grow,” Satpute said.
He said that Bridgestone India has invested Rs 2000 crore in expanding manufacturing capacity across the two plants as well as in technology and now looking to launch tyres for the fast-growing electric vehicle segments.
“We have made investment in new technology to improve our capability, which has, in turn, helped us manufacture a much wider range of tyres locally. We are able to manufacture up to 19-inch rim tyres in India, which is fitted on to the SUVs and all premium cars. So even with import restrictions Bridgestone tyres are available that are produced locally in our plants,” he said.
The company every alternative year has been able to launch new products and it will continue to do so in the future also, he said.
“In the next 3-4 years, we see demand quite strong so we are continuing to invest especially in technology because in the future we will see more and more EVs, and that might require new technology for tyres. So we are investing in that technology to be able to deliver EV-specific tyres in India as well,” Satpute stated.
“We will look at new products and technology for the EV segment because the demand for an EV tyre is very different from the normal IC engine-powered vehicle tyres. EVs don’t make a sound, unlike a gasoline-powered engine vehicles. And that calls for a new technology which Bridgestone already has with it,” he said.