Michelin India to supply own market needs by 2015
By 2015, Michelin aims to supply 100 per cent of its truck and bus tyre market in India from its plant currently under construction near Chennai. The facility, being built on a 300-acre site in Thervoy Kandigai, is scheduled to enter production next year with an initial annual capacity of 300,000 truck and bus tyres.
Reporting from the Challenge Bibendum event in Berlin, the Press Trust of India noted comments made on the sidelines by Pete Selleck, vice-president of Michelin’s Truck and Bus division. “Importing truck tyres to India is a challenge,” Selleck said. “By 2015, we hope to be relatively self-sufficient. We expect to stop importing truck tyres in the country and meet the demand from local manufacturing by then.” Selleck added that ending the company’s reliance on imports would significantly reduce supply costs for Michelin, however PTI states he declined to comment as to whether domestic production would lead to lower product prices.
Although the Chennai plant will commence production with a relatively modest initial capacity, the facility has been built with future expansion in mind. Pete Selleck said capacity expansion depends upon “how well the radial tyre market in India grows,” and indicated that when operating at full capacity, a plant like that in Chennai “can produce two million tyres annually and be commercially viable.” Yet whether producing 300,000 or two million units per annum, one thing is clear – plant output is intended for the Indian market rather than for export. “We will make tyres suited for the specific requirements of the market there,” Selleck confirmed.
The tyre maker may also further expand its activities in India through establishing a research and development centre there in the coming decade. Selleck commented that India and China “are the two big potential markets for having an R&D base.” At present Michelin operates four research and development centres; in France, the US, Brazil and Thailand.