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Bridgestone optimistic about Indian market despite facing ripple effects of slowdown in auto industry

Bridgestone optimistic about Indian market despite facing ripple effects of slowdown in auto industry

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 23 Jan 2020, 10:22 pm

Kolkata/UNI: The year 2019 was one of the most difficult years for the automobile industry, but tyre major Bridgestone is optimistic about growth in the Indian market.

"The industry we operate in is cyclical in nature, therefore there are ups and downs. The auto sector has been affected and consequently, our business with them has been impacted," said Mr Parag Satpute, Managing Director of Bridgestone India, in an email interview with UNI.

He said the company used the period of slow down to introduce new products and solutions. Bridgestone's strong presence in the aftermarket also helped maintain buoyancy during this time, he added.

In July 2019, the company announced capacity expansion at its Indore plant in Madhya Pradesh.

With this expansion, the capacity of the plant will go up to over 20,000 tyres a day by 2020.

"This will enable Bridgestone India to produce the entire Bridgestone India’s range of radial tyres serving the passenger car segment," Mr Satpute added.

The company's Pune plant in Maharashtra is operating in excess of 10000 tyres a day, he added.

However, a cyclic downturn combined with weak consumer sentiments results in auto manufacturers reassessing their demand for tyres, which has a direct impact on tyre production, he pointed out.

Apart from weak consumer sentiments and cyclic nature of the tyre industry, radialization is one of the major challenges in the Indian tyre industry today, Mr Satpute said.

"While passenger car consumers have predominately taken to radial tyres the switch in the commercial vehicles is somewhat slow. The challenge lies in convincing the commercial vehicle consumer the cost benefits of switching to radials," he pointed out.

The tyre industry is also facing challenges due to high raw material prices especially the rising cost of the main ingredient, natural rubber, he said.

Another major concern is Chinese tyre manufacturers dumping tyres in India which affects the whole Indian tyre industry, asserted Mr Satpute.

"Although the government has imposed anti-dumping duty, these cheap tyres are now making their way through illegal or illicit imports which is a cause for concern," he added.

Talking about new technology, he said telematics will change the demand patterns in the tyre market. Tyres are one of the major areas witnessing developments in telematics, he added.

"For fleets, fuel is the major operating cost. Fuel consumption is largely driven by the condition of tyres as well.

"Telematics will help on this front as this technology will monitor tyre parameters like pressure, tread depth and temperatures.

"These directly impact fuel consumption and thereby impact fleet economics," he explained.

Bridgestone Corporation aims to be a one-billion-dollar company by 2022, serving society with superior quality products.

To achieve this, products aligned with industry trends, ensuring the best quality and maximum performance are being introduced.

"We have a product called Ecopia which is a fuel-efficient tyre. By moving from a standard tyre to Ecopia tyre the car or truck driver can save upto 7 -10 per cent of fuel," said Mr Satpute.

The company is focusing on the next generation of fuel-efficient tyres as well high technology tyres that offer durability,  performance and safety, he said.

Bridgestone optimistic about Indian market despite facing ripple effects of slowdown in auto industry

India Blooms News Service
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