Apollo Vredestein is enhancing its European agricultural tyre production activities at its Enschede factory in the Netherlands by bringing a new 104-inch tyre press into service in mid-March. The newly-installed tyre press will mainly produce tractor tyres for the XL segment (up to 2.30 metres in diameter and weighing up to 550 kg), products suitable for tractors between 200 and 500 hp. The tyre maker says the commissioning of the press represents a “significant increase in capacity” for this tyre segment.
Apollo Tyres has launched a new tyre range to satisfy demand in India’s fast-growing compact SUV market. The tyre maker says it has introduced the Apollo Apterra Cross following two years of development and testing, and will initially offer the range in five sizes for 16- and 17-inch rim diameters. While Apollo Tyres currently has no plans to bring the Apterra Cross to Europe, it intends to distribute the range in ASEAN and SAARC markets at a later date.
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 has unveiled a new eco-oriented tyre developed by its R&D facilities in Europe and India and offering a “best in class rolling resistance coefficient.” The tyre maker says the Apollo Amazer XP complies with BS VI, India’s equivalent of Euro 6 standards, and is electric vehicle ready. Apollo will initially only sell the Amazer XP range in India, including as an original equipment tyre for several vehicles.
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.
Apollo Tyres is selling car and two-wheeler tyres direct to customers in its domestic market. The company launched its e-commerce portal in India on 22 December, 2020. The site allows consumers to purchase tyres online and book an appointment with Apollo Tyres’ dealer nearest to their location to get the tyres fitted and serviced. The service is initially available in Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kochi. Apollo plans to expand the service to other cities across the country.
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.
One way or another 2020 has been an eventful year for all of us. The same is true at Apollo Tyres where, at a global level, the company has had to navigate pandemic-related production pauses and restarts along with new factory openings and the decision to enter the two-wheel segment. At the same time as continuing to develop the Apollo brand, the company has also given the Vredestein brand a big push during the last month or so. First, with the launch of a new all-season range, then with the introduction of a new North American tyre line-up and – in order to support both – a pitch-side advertising partnership with Manchester United football club. Tyres & Accessories recently interviewed Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and MD, Apollo Tyres Ltd in order to find out more.
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).
As Tyres & Accessories annual global social media ranking enters its seventh edition, this year there is a new winner. Last year’s champion, Pirelli, has fallen two places to third position. At the same time, Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ Falken brand rose an impressive eight positions to take the top spot. And Pirelli wasn’t the only well-known name to downshift, with two other brands taking retrograde steps. At the same time, in a reflection of what has taken place in the UK-only ranking, the top 10 has a new entry, with previously 10th-ranked MRF being overtaken by another large Indian tyremaker.
Continuing its long association with Manchester United, Apollo Tyres recently extended ‘Official Global Tyre Partner’ status with a parallel association with the company’s Vredestein tyre brand. The move is part of a wider growth strategy for the Vredestein brand across the Europe and North American markets.
Dutch tyre brand Vredestein, part of the Apollo Tyres family since 2009, is a name well-known amongst European motorists. This isn’t the case in the USA and Canada, where Vredestein’s only enjoyed a niche following in past years. Apollo Tyres now intends to change this – in September it launched a “comprehensive brand offensive” there backed by a full range of new tyre lines explicitly designed for and developed in North America.
Apollo Tyres is aiming for leadership in the premium two-wheeler segment in India with the inauguration of a dedicated two-wheel cross-ply and tyre manufacturing operation. India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world, and still has a headroom for further growth. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, demand has increased as people move away from shared/public transport and gradually moving to own a personal vehicle. However, while India is at the forefront for Apollo’s venture into the two-wheel segment, the company is also hinting that it plans to export two-wheel tyres to Europe and North America.
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.