In a move intended to further strengthen its product offering at home, Apollo Tyres Ltd. has launched its 2009-aquired Vredestein marque in India. Products sold in India bearing this long-established European brand name will be manufactured locally, and Apollo Tyres is initially offering a line-up of car and SUV tyres that will “cater to the premium and luxury segment” as well as motorcycle tyres for the “growing superbiking segment in India.”
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.
Top management at Apollo Tyres have announced they’ve accepted a pay cut during the market difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tyre maker says it is also preparing to implement further measures.
Extending its sports sponsorship engagement beyond football, Apollo Tyres has entered into a five-year agreement with former Indian international cricketer and team captain Sachin Tendulkar. This is the first time an individual celebrity has served as Apollo brand ambassador.
Following internal discussions and review of a commissioned report produced by Ernst & Young, the Nominations & Remuneration Committee (NRC) within the Board of Directors at Apollo Tyres Ltd. has recommended changes to the compensation packages Onkar and Neeraj Kanwar receive from the company.
After opening its new European factory last year, Apollo Tyres is now focusing on expanding its manufacturing footprint at home. A ceremony was held today to lay the foundation stone of the tyre maker’s fifth plant in India and seventh facility worldwide. The new factory is located in Chinnapanduru, Andhra Pradesh state, and is expected to enter operation in mid-2020. Apollo Tyres is investing close to Rs 18 billion (£209.4 million) in the first phase of the new plant project.
Apollo Vredestein’s work to shift its Dutch brand’s replacement market focus to become an original equipment supplier has resulted in fitments on three major models. Vredestein, has been selected as a fitment on the Volkswagen Polo, Seat Ibiza and Ford EcoSport.
The opening of Apollo Tyres’ Gyöngyöshalász plant, 100km east of Budapest, marks a significant event for both the company’s global aspirations and the Indian tyre industry – the 72 hectare greenfield factory, begun in April 2015, is the first inaugurated by an Indian tyre company to come online outside the domestic market. The importance was reflected in the event itself, with some of the plant’s cavernous warehousing housing around 1,300 guests, among whose number was the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, who declared Apollo’s sixth global tyre manufacturing plant – its second in Europe after the existing Netherlands facility acquired alongside Vredestein – open on 7 April.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. It is almost three years since Apollo Tyres Ltd’s planned takeover of Cooper Tire & Rubber fell apart, and now the company is in the running to acquire another top-15 global tyre maker. In an interview with Indian newspaper The Hindu, Apollo vice-chairman and managing director Neeraj Kanwar confirmed the submission of a non-binding bid to acquire Kumho Tire, however he also indicated that Apollo Tyres isn’t rushing into anything.
Last week, Apollo Tyres formally inaugurated a second Global R&D Centre to complement its existing global research and development facility in the Netherlands, which opened in 2013. The new centre is located just outside the city of Chennai, in Southern India, and was inaugurated by company chairman Onkar S Kanwar and vice-chairman and managing director Neeraj Kanwar in the presence of members of the company’s Supervisory Board and Management Board on 9 November.
Former Pirelli research and development director Daniele Lorenzetti has assumed the role of chief technology officer at Apollo Tyres, and has also joined the tyre maker’s Management Board. He succeeds Dr Seshu Bhagavathula, who recently returned to the automotive sector after a two-year stint at Apollo Tyres to take up the position of chief technology officer at Ashok Leyland. Lorenzetti is based in the company’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The market for motorcycle and scooter tyres in India is massive – around 120 million two-wheeled vehicles ply the country’s roads. To supply this large and growing market – the two-wheeler segment is said to be increasing at 8.5 per cent CAGR – and in response to its requests from its partners, Apollo Tyres has introduced the company’s first-ever products for this segment. The new Acti line-up covers around 85 per cent of replacement market demand for two-wheeler tyres in India.
At its Board of Directors meeting on 9 February, Apollo Tyres Ltd confirmed the appointment of Francesco Gori as an additional, non-independent company director. Mr Gori, who served as chief executive officer of Pirelli Tyre between 2006 and 2012, joined Apollo Tyres as advisor for strategy in October 2015. Vinod Rai, the former comptroller and auditor general of India, was also appointed an additional, independent director of Apollo Tyres during the meeting, and approval was given for a change in Robert Steinmetz’s directorship status.
Apollo Tyres’ takeover of reifencom GmbH, operator of e-commerce sites in six European countries, has been described as part of the company’s strategy to expand its retail network in the European market. Apollo said its takeover will allow it to support the expansion activities of its subsidiary Apollo Vredestein, which include major investments in the European premium brand Vredestein. The company stated that it has major plans for growth via an expansion of its original equipment activities – the groundwork for which is being laid via the current construction of a new plant in Hungary.