When the Covid crisis hit India, it made a huge impact on the automotive industry, which was already seeing difficult times. This impacted OEM suppliers as well, since vehicle sales came down. When we speak about OEM suppliers, we tend to forget one important component of a vehicle — tyres.
The tyre industry is huge. It caters to passenger vehicles, two-wheelers, commercial vehicles of all sizes, and electric vehicles. To understand more about the impact the industry had, Express Mobility reached out to Tsang-Chih Chu (Kurachi), the Director of Maxxis Tyres India.
“The covid pandemic created innumerable challenges for the automobile industry as well as for the tyre industry. At Maxxis, we turned these challenges into opportunities, achieving the highest OE sales after the pandemic with an average sale of over 2.4 lakh tyres,” said Tsang-Chih Chu. Maxxis Tyres had a sufficient supply and storage of raw materials to fulfil OEM orders. He added, “As we are gearing up for the festive season and the market has been opening, we are witnessing green shoots of recovery.”
On the topic of OEMs, the Director said, “We have partnered with Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India Limited, Yamaha Motor India, and Suzuki Motorcycles. We are fast expanding our portfolio as per new trends and market demand.” Maxxis makes two-wheeler tyres for the commuter and performance segment, with the current portfolio catering to almost 82%. “We plan to raise it more than 90% this year,” adds Tsang-Chih Chu.
He further adds, “Maxxis plans to launch products in the cruiser/touring segment. We launched the M922F tubeless tyre for the electric two-wheeler models. In addition to this, we are further strengthening our product portfolio and recently introduced Maxxplore, M116 Rib patterns in more than 15 sizes and the sports motorcycle segment.” The tyres are available as a replacement alternative for the Bajaj Pulsar (150,160, 180, 200, and 220), TVS Apache (160, 180, 200), Yamaha R15, Yamaha FZ, Honda Hornet, and other models.
The Director adds, “Also, the range of the tyres are supported by 5+1 year unconditional warranty with Maxxis two-wheeler tyres. This unconditional warranty is a no-questions-asked offer that applies to all unserviceable and unrepairable tyres.”
For those not familiar, Maxxis sponsors motorsport events in various categories. “Internationally, we sponsor numerous series and events, promoting the growth of cycling, motorcycle racing, ATV racing, and automotive racing on and off the tracks,” said Tsang-Chih Chu. Maxxis has also been part of the Dakar Rally since 2013, and in the 42nd edition, it became the lead sponsor for the Dutch team led by Tim Coronel.
Maxxis has taken initiatives in India as well, to empower women in the country. Through its ‘Women in Front’ initiative, Maxxis is encouraging Indian women to experience the freedom of riding and challenging gender stereotypes. Tsang-Chih Chu added, “Through this initiative, we provided women with relevant training and safety practices that will help them take the front seat and pave their own journey without any fear or hesitation.”
Speaking about some of the technology involved in making tyres for the current demand, the Director said, “Maxxis has used latest technologies in its tyres. We offer the M922F range, which are tubeless low-resistance tyres designed specifically for electric two-wheelers. The tyres are made of a lightweight rubber compound, which helps reduce energy consumption by 5-10%.
“Also, Our Extramaxx tyres are built using aramid fibre, the same used for making bulletproof vests. This leads to better control and minimizes the chances of punctures. It also reduces rolling resistance and improves stability and life.”
Commenting on the plans ahead, Tsang-Chih Chu, said, “Various tyres for sports bikes with different applications for road and weather conditions will be introduced shortly. We are also going to launch products in the cruiser/touring segment. Apart from this, we have put many products in the new product development mode for electric vehicles by looking at its potential in the upcoming time, which will help us capture a market share of 15% by 2026.”
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