India Bridgestone’s “Top” Asia-Pacific Priority
According to Bridgestone’s Asia Pacific general manager for Consumer Marketing, Yoshihiro Tanabe, the Indian market is the company’s “top priority in the Asia-Pacific region”. Therefore, says Tanabe, Bridgestone is “going to put more focus on the Indian market than ever and are considering and discussing many possibilities for expansion.”
As previously reported, the company has identified India as a significant growth market in the Asia-Pacific region, and says it is currently ramping up its manufacturing capacity and dealership network across the country in order to capture a third of India’s growing passenger car market. It plans to expand its Pithampur plant near Indore, Madhya Pradesh state with a Rs 2.59 billion (£33.6 million) investment. Capacity will rise more than 40 per cent to 15,000 tyres per day on the back of this investment. Bridgestone will also hire an additional 300 staff as part of its nationwide expansion plan.
Furthermore, the Japanese tyre major also plans to grow its dealership network from 2,000 to 2,300 dealers in the next three years. “The global meltdown has not affected India as much as it hurt the Western economies. Demand is growing and so we want to capture more than one-third of its passenger car market by 2012,” said Bridgestone India senior deputy general manager for Marketing, Vaibhav Saraf.
Bridgestone India started operations in 1996, and two years later local production began at its facility in Madhya Pradesh. At present Bridgestone claims an almost 30 per cent share of India’s passenger car radial market.