Not many years ago
Not many years ago the large tyre manufacturers still thought they had better make haste and claim a stake in the apparently huge markets of China and India, since life does not favour latecomers. Their enthusiasm was kindled by the example of some car manufacturers, which quickly calculated and estimated a gigantic (sales) potential in these two countries alone with their joint populations of two billion. Some car manufacturers learnt quickly that opportunities are not limitless.
Tyre manufacturers fared similarly. Pirelli supplied China with some know-how, which was gratefully received but did not provide Pirelli with a strong base. Nor did the Italians make money out of the technology transfer.
Conti’s big plans for India are hardly mentioned any more. The “Big Three” – Goodyear, Bridgestone and Michelin – are present in both countries, but business is quiet. In India, 29 manufacturers run 41 factories with a maximum capacity of about 43 million tyres, but only 34 million pieces were manufactured in 1997/98, most of them (73 p.
c.) for trucks and buses. And 60 p.
c. of passenger car tyres are still cross-ply tyres, 1998 has only seen 3,3 million radials in this segment. Our British sister magazine TYRES &ACCESSORIES reported on the Indian tyre market at length; we publish an excerpt in this issue in our December issue, including a brief presentation of some individual companies active in this market.