To capitalise on the increasing demand for radial tyres in India, French tyre major Michelin has decided to increase its production capacity at the Chennai plant by 45% in 2015. Hinting at a possible entry into car radials in India (currently it produces only commercial vehicles tyres), the company is betting big on retreading as well tubless tyre businesses.
In an interactive session with journalists, chairman and president (Africa, India and Middle East), Michelin, said: “We see India emerging as one of the top manufacturing plants in the world as the demand for truck and bus radialisation is gaining momentum. May be our capacity in Indian plant will match one of the three plants in Europe and would also address the demand in neighbouring markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan, Middle East, South East Asia (Gulf region).”
“We were doing 11,000 tonne in 2014 and we expect to end with 16,000 tonne, a growth of 45%, in 2015. We will be growing at the same range or more than this in the coming years. We will produce millions of tyres. The market size of the commercial vehicle segment (radial tyres) is pegged at 16 million units (including after market) and is growing at 14% annually, which means we have huge market in India.,” he said.
Being the pioneer in radial tyres the world, Michelin is growing in India – both at OEM as well as after market levels. The company commands close to 15% market share in the commercial vehicle radial tyres market which would grow further with the increasing radialisation across CV segment. Currently only 30% of the CV segment is radialised while the same in PV is nearly 100%, he said.
“We have enough space at our Chennai plant to increase capacity. We have 290 acres of land in whole here and will be increasing the same with added investments annually based on the market demand here,” Bouhassoun said.