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.
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.
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.
Vredestein has introduced further Traxion Optimall sizes. It says these additions to its 2018-launched Very High Flexion range are “ideal for ploughing” thanks to their maximum width of 65 centimetres. This enables the VF650/85R42 and VF650/85R38 tyres to “fit perfectly in the furrow.” The manufacturer adds that the Traxion Optimall’s traction and self-cleaning properties also make the tyre “very suitable for plough activities. In addition to these rear wheel fitments, Vredestein has released a new VF600/70R34 front wheel size.
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.
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.
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.
There is no doubt that the all-season tyre segment is one of the fastest-growing in the European market, and it is not difficult to see why; while some countries routinely experience extreme weather conditions in the winter months, much of the continent does not suffer to the same extent. As such, many countries – such as the UK, for example – have never developed a strong winter tyre market.
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.
Vredestein has launched an upgraded winter car tyre, rebranding its Snowtrac range for the cold weather segment. The new tyre, the Vredestein Wintrac, was scheduled to be launched at The Tire Cologne. Due to that event’s cancellation, the new tyre is also entering the market as the brand’s first ever virtual launch. Vredestein says the tyre is “more suitable for current European winters.” Accordingly its engineers have improved the winter range’s performance in all types of wet conditions. It also continues to drive well on snow, it adds.
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.
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.