Indian market launch for Conti truck radials
Continental has begun producing and distributing radial truck tyres in the Indian market ahead of the product range’s official launch there on 1 April. The tyre maker says its initial truck radial capacity in India is 220,000 tyres a year; these will be distributed to a dealer network that contains more than 1,400 outlets in over 70 cities across the country. The first products to be launched include the HSR2 steer tyre and HDR2 drive tyre for freight carrying vehicles and the HSX2 and HDX2 coach tyres.
“Introducing Continental radial truck tyres into the Indian market is a momentous occasion for us. India is the second largest market for truck tyres in the Asia-Pacific region and we strongly believe that our premium technology products, manufactured locally and distributed through our Indian market organisation, will make Continental a preferred partner in the tyre replacement and original equipment business,” states Dr. Andreas Esser, head of Continental’s Commercial Vehicle Tires business. Investing in local production capacities is a stated part of Continental’s strategy to diversify its global manufacturing footprint and expand business in growing markets.
According to figures quoted by Continental, India’s replacement truck tyre market has a volume of approximately 14 million units per year, made up of almost 4 million radials and some 10 million cross-ply tyres. Over the last five years, the market has not only grown by approximately 24 per cent overall, but has also seen a strong shift towards radial tyres. It is expected that radialisation will gain further momentum in the next few years.
After acquiring local manufacturer Modi Tyres in 2011, Continental announced it would invest more than €50 million in passenger car and truck radial production in India. The company has acquired new machinery for producing radial tyres and has brought in experienced staff from other locations to train Indian employees, while more than 100 local employees were sent to production sites in Germany, Romania, China and Malaysia for comprehensive training in radial tyre production and technology.
“We firmly believe that the personal training of our local staff through experienced experts from other production sites is a key factor for the successful ramp-up of a new tyre plant,” comments Thierry Wipff, Continental’s head of manufacturing, Commercial Vehicle Tires. “Our strong network of production sites ensures that outstanding performance and high standards are always guaranteed, and this is particularly crucial during the switch from producing bias tyres to radial tyres, where the technology involved is more complex and requires additional know-how.”