Tyres dominate Automechanika Academy in Dubai

Following a successful opening day, with a steady stream of visitors in attendance, Automechanika Middle East 2011 continued today with a series of tyre-related seminars dominating the day’s Automechanika Academy sessions.

Bridgestone Middle East and Africa president, Shoichi Sakuma, spoke on “safety and environmental measures being taken by tyre manufacturers”, centring on the fact that the Japanese firm’s Ecopia products are soon to be introduced to the Middle Eastern markets. Zafco CEO, Mr. Kopiraj KV, continued the theme with his talk on “green tyres – a new revolution”, before the plenary sessions were wrapped up for the morning with Emrald Resilient Tyre CEO and joint managing director V Krishnaram bringing the added perspective of “potential opportunities and challenges in the industrial tyre industry.”

However, it was Al Dobowi Group chairman Surender Singh Kandhari’s speech on “the emergence of budget tyres” that was arguably most controversial, while also the most referred to by the other members of the panel during the sessions. Highlighting that the combination of ambitious manufacturers based in emerging markets and increasingly tough legislation has seen so-called budget brands rapidly increase sales volumes and standards, his most memorable comment came when he posited: “There are no bad tyres; only good ones and better ones.”

When Tyres & Accessories asked how this view compared with Michelin’s published opinion that the forthcoming European labelling laws will lead to a roughly 30 per cent reduction in the number of Chinese firms able to export to Europe, he answered with his view that these firms won’t be able to survive as exporters and won’t be present in markets like Japan (which already has labelling), Europe after 2012, and then the US, following by markets such as Brazil and the Middle East. Therefore, he explained there legislation will demonstrate that “bad tyres don’t exist.”

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