Keen on tapping motorcycle segment

Mayur N. Shah

Mumbai, Sept. 1

Michelin India Tyres Private Ltd, the 100 per cent subsidiary of Michelin France, has plans to venture into the two-wheeler tyre market. The tyre major is keen on tapping the motorcycle segment that comprises 75 per cent of the two-wheeler tyres market.

According to senior officials, the company would initially introduce its tyre range for the motorcycle market followed by the scooter range. The spokesperson said he would not like to comment on the future product launches.

The tyre range will be introduced by the year-end across all `Michelin Priority Partner' retail outlets that had been recently launched in the country. They will be sourced through Michelin's plant in China.

Radial tyres

In the two-wheeler market, the motorcycle segment is the key area as it is the segment where radial tube tyres are now available in the retail market. According to experts, more customers are opting for radial tyres despite their premium price because of their advantage over bias ply tryes. Earlier the company had shown keen interest in tapping the original equipment players (truck and bus manufacturers). Officials said that the company is in talks with several players in the industry. Like the two-wheeler segment, the truck and bus radial market is at a nascent stage though growing at a faster pace. For the replacement market in car tyres, the company imports its range from its Thailand plant. It had earlier introduced its new range of car radials (Energy XM1). These tyres were introduced specifically for the mid-size car segment; it is one of the fastest growing segments in the car industry.

In order to ensure that quality controlled tyres are being sold in the country, the Government of India is likely to mandate a BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) order that makes it mandatory for tyre manufacturers to adhere to certain standards.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 2, 2006)
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