Dutch tyre brand Vredestein is coming to India. During an investor call this month, parent company Apollo Tyres confirmed that Vredestein products are being manufactured in this market and will be introduced locally during the first quarter of 2021.
Apollo Tyres reports improved sales and significantly higher net profit in the three months to 31 December 2020, the third quarter of its 2020-21 financial year. The bottom-line result for the year to date is admittedly less impressive, as net profits have been watered down by costs associated with the restructuring of the Apollo Vredestein facility in Enschede, the Netherlands.
Vredestein has launched its new Ultrac car tyre today, with a range of sizes between 15 and 18 inches suited to many of Europes biggest selling compact-medium sized cars. The tyre, the third Vredestein has launched during the pandemic, has been developed with full life cycle sustainability a key consideration. Yet the Ultrac’s performance in wet and dry conditions is also head and shoulders above its predecessor – the manufacturer says overall performance is 15 per cent better. In addition to its green credentials, the Apollo Tyres global R&D centre in Enschede, Netherlands focused on safety and comfort. As a result, the company’s flagship European brand calls the tyre’s performance “best-in-class”. Hosted by Formula 3 driver Vicky Piria, the tyre’s launch was streamed online in a virtual presentation suite, with chief technical officer Daniele Lorenzetti supplying insight into the development of the new tyre.
Apollo Tyres Europe has appointed UK-based agency PFPR Communications to conduct public relations for the Vredestein brand in Europe. Working across the company’s business in the passenger car, off-highway, and truck and bus sectors, the specialist automotive agency will handle public relations strategy, media relations and asset generation alongside a host of other communication tasks.
Alejandro Recasens’ former employer is once again his current employer. After leaving to join Apollo Vredestein as its cluster director South West, Recasens has returned to Pirelli. According to Spanish trade publication EuroPneus, he is back with Pirelli as of 1 January 2021, heading up its Western Europe region.
Earlier this year Apollo Tyres announced it would transfer much of the remaining car tyre production in Enschede, the Netherlands to its factory in Hungary. To accommodate this change, the tyre maker has approved a HUF 4.4 billion (£11.2 million) investment to modernise and expand consumer tyre production at the Gyöngyöshalász site. Hungary’s government is supporting this project with a HUF 1.4 billion (£3.6 million) grant.
Apollo Tyres had to accept a drop in its turnover and earnings in the half-year to 30 September 2020, with the notable exception of sales in Europe. The company’s global sales in the first half of its current April 2020 to March 2021 financial year were Rs 70.62 billion (£728.85 million), 13.9 per cent less than the sales it gained a year earlier. Net profit dropped 71.1 per cent year-on-year to Rs 650 million (£6.71 million).
Vredestein has expanded its Traxion 65 tractor tyre series. First introduced at Agritechnica 2019, Vredestein has added 15 sizes, covering a complete range from 16 to 42 inches. All 19 tyres are available for the aftermarket and various tractor brands are offering them factory fitted. The Traxion 65 series is Vredestein’s follow-up to the popular Traxion+. It was redesigned to incorporate the latest technologies developed for the Vredestein Traxion Optimall VF. Proven features, including the curved lugs and the large contact area in the middle of the tread, have been retained, with comfort and traction characteristics improved.
Apollo Vredestein tells Tyres & Accessories that it has focused strongly on the agricultural sector of the market during the Covid-19 lockdown. Although some of the wider company’s employees were “placed on furlough leave,” its agricultural team was kept functional with some home working facilities provided by the company. Just prior to UK entering lock down, Apollo Vredestein’s UK team, anticipating what had already happened in other European countries, doubled UK stock levels of agricultural products, as reported by Tyres & Accessories. This was also supported by transfer of resources in manufacturing and administration to allow continued agricultural tyre production in the factories.
Alejandro Recasens has joined Apollo Vredestein as Cluster Director South-West, responsible for Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. Having had a successful career with Pirelli Tyres spanning two decades, Recasens is now spearheading Apollo Vredestein’s plans for growth in the markets of southwestern Europe.
Lay-off talks between Vredestein and employees at its Enschede factory in The Netherlands have not resulted in an agreement. The talks were prompted by the management’s announcement in early March that the firm is moving much of its production to Hungary. Since this will result in laying off around 750 of the 1,200 employees, a works council was developed in order to formulate an alternative proposal. However, according to various local news reports, the proposal was not received positively by the company management.
Production at Apollo Tyres’ factory in Hungary will partially recommence tomorrow, a month after the tyre maker scaled back production there and in its Enschede plant in the Netherlands in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Apollo Vredestein says it has increased its stock holding of Vredestein agricultural tyres in the UK in order to meet strong demand. The company’s sales functions remain in operation and its distribution channel, ATL, continues to deliver the agricultural tyres which are considered an essential element for the country’s food chain supply.
Apollo Vredestein is scaling back production at its European plants in Hungary and the Netherlands in addition to “taking measures to protect our workforce in line with government health advisory and measures” against coronavirus/Covid-19.
According to the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), Apollo Vredestein will stop employing temp workers hired through agencies at its Enschede plant from April 2020. This means that almost 150 temporary jobs will disappear in addition to the approximately 750 permanent jobs that the tyre maker plans to shed.