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Saturday, Dec 28, 2002

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Now JK Tyre takes on MRF — Writes to Advertising Council

K.R. Srivats

NEW DELHI, Dec. 27

JK Tyre has disagreed with the decision of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) that held the claim "JK Tyre— The No 1 tyre manufacturer" in an advertising campaign of the company as "misleading".

"JK Tyre— The No 1 Tyre Manufacturer was a plank, in our communication strategy, that was stopped in May 2002. The campaign doesn't exist anymore. We have now written to ASCI on December 16 clarifying our position on the objections raised. The contention of the complainant is wrong. ASCI's latest verdict contradicts its own stand taken in May when it held that the same headline was not misleading," Mr Amit Chaturvedi, President, JK Tyre, told Business Line here.

The company's letter to ASCI on December 16 stated that the "complainant is feeling threatened by our superior status and is, therefore, time and again resorting to such tactics without checking the relevant figures".

JK Tyre has also pointed out that the company manufactures JK branded tyres through the Vikrant production facilities and therefore for all practical purposes JK Tyre and Vikrant Tyre has to be looked at its entirety. "Even before the merger announcement, Vikrant was a subsidiary of JK Industries and the company had controlling interest in Vikrant. Even ATMA clubs JK figures and Vikrant numbers. So why should they raise an objection," Mr Chaturvedi said.

As regards the contention of MRF that the turnover figures from audited financial statements can only be considered as authentic and not ATMA production numbers, Mr Chaturvedi said that the turnover of MRF included a number of segments such as paints, industrial rubber products, toys, 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler tyres which need to be excluded before making any comparison with JK and Vikrant, which are manufacturers of only 4-wheeler tyres.

"If all these segments' turnover are excluded, we know for a fact that their residual turnover will be slightly lesser than the combined turnover of Rs 1,800 crore from JK and Vikrant", Mr Chaturvedi said.

He also said that the same ASCI had in May accepted ATMA numbers in support of their decision that the heading "JK Tyre— No 1 Tyre Manufacturer in India" was not false or misleading.

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