Company targets Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

A first for Indian tyres

The launch will be held at Europe's largest tyre expo, Reifen 2010, in Essen, Germany.

Apollo will start with four brands.

Pratim Ranjan Bose

Kolkata, May 31

Apollo tyres will now be available in Europe.

Come tomorrow, India's largest truck-bus tyre maker will launch its three home-grown passenger car tyre brands – Amazer 3G, Acelere, Aspire – and the Hawkz range of SUV tyres in the competitive after-sales European markets of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

The company has already made inroads into the European tyre market through the acquisition of the Netherlands-based Vredestein Banden BV (Now Apollo Vredestein BV), better known for its Vredestein branded winter tyres (wider higher performance tyres).

Apollo Vredestein (AVBV) also owns a number of smaller “fighter” brands.

According to company sources, this is the first time any Indian tyre brand will be venturing in this highly competitive market.

The launch ceremony will take place on Monday at Europe's largest tyre expo, Reifen 2010, being held in Essen in Germany.

Maiden entry

This is Apollo's first entry in Reifen. Apart from launching Apollo branded products, the company will showcase its entire product range at the expo.

“To begin with, we are launching four brands primarily focusing on Germany, the Netherlands and the UK markets. Of the four, Amazer 3G and Acelere will be entry-level products. On the other hand, the ultra-high performance Aspire and Hawkz will be relatively premium; and will also come out with the winter tyre variants,” a company official told Business Line.

After-sales market

All the brands will play in nearly 80 per cent of the total after-sales tyre market in Europe. The portfolio will be further compensated by Vredestein at the top of the order.

Apollo Tyres is an original equipment (OE) supplier to almost all the global brands (except Honda and Toyota) that entered the country in recent years. The company is also negotiating with Volkswagen for OE supplies to the auto-maker's European sales.

The decision to enter the European after-sales market with Apollo branded tyres may, therefore, serve the company's long-term agenda to grab a foothold in the OE market in Europe.

Stability

To begin the process, the company is pushing Vredestein in the European OE market.

This would bring stability in AVBV business, which was so far largely dependent on the winter sales.

Apollo is the third largest player in the domestic passenger car tyre market. However, the ranking may improve significantly once the Chennai facility reaches peak production of 8000 car radials a day.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 1, 2010)
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