Conti to produce radials in India from 2013
Following Continental’s recent acquisition of India’s Modi Tyres Company Limited, the German company has announced plans to expand its Indian market operations. Initial plans involve increasing Continental India Limited’s cross-ply truck and bus tyre production at its Modipuram factory to over 500,000 units per annum this year and further boosting output to more than a million units in 2013. On top of this, more than 50 million euros will be invested to equip the company for passenger car and commercial vehicle radial manufacture; Continental anticipates starting production of these tyres in the second half of 2013.
“In India, there is a rising demand for vehicles with high quality tyres as well as premium technology,” stated Continental’s Nikolai Setzer during a press meeting in Delhi on August 24. The Tire Division head continued: “Thus, we are convinced that radialisation will be the driving force in the Indian truck tyre market, and therefore our further investments of more than 50 million Euros in radial truck tyre production will prepare a solid base in order to meet that demand.”
Radial capacity will be installed alongside existing cross-ply production equipment at the Modipurum plant and will propel the facility’s workforce from its current 1,600 workers to between 2,200 and 2,400 in the next few years. Continental notes that its sales in India, now handled by 100 regional distribution centres and some 1,400 dealers, have historically been largely in the aftermarket. The company now intends to maintain a “strong focus” on the replacement market while building up a “significant share” of India’s OEM business.
Commenting on the capacity expansion announcement, Andreas Penkert, designated CEO of Continental India, said “this is a milestone for our corporation in India. Continental increased its sales in Asia at corporate level by almost 50 per cent to over four billion Euros last year. Continental is Europe’s market leader for passenger car tyres. In the original equipment sector, over 30 per cent of all new European cars leave the factory on Continental tyres. For commercial vehicle tyres, Continental is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of premium truck, bus and industrial tyres. With this legacy and a long-term vision for the industry, we start this first direct initiative of the Tire Division here in India with full strength and dedication to make it a success – for our customers, for Continental and our employees, and for the region.”
Conti formally completed its acquisition of Modi Tyres in July; the 18.5 million purchase included Modi’s cross-ply plant in Modipuram, a tube plant located in Partapur and all related operational assets plus all customer relationships. Alok Modi, member of the founding family of Modi Tyres Company Limited, has a position on the Continental India Board of Directors.