The tyre industry has demanded that the Centre impose anti-dumping duty on Chinese tyres given its impact on the domestic tyre industry.
The industry as a whole represented to the Government seeking immediate restrictions on Chinese tyre imports in line with the margins imposed by countries such as the US and Brazil, where the duty structure is 35 per cent and on a per kg basis.
Onkar S. Kanwar, Chairman, Apollo Tyres, told reporters here that Chinese imports had grown 100 per cent year-on-year and, sequentially, from Q4 of FY 15 to Q1 of FY 16, it had gone up by 30 per cent.
On whether lower natural rubber prices would benefit the domestic tyre industry, he said it was time the Government changed the lopsided duty structure whereby natural rubber imports attracted 20 per cent import duty while finished tyre products attracted less than 10 per cent. This was harming both the domestic tyre industry and rubber growers, he said.
Despite the softening of input prices, the chairman said the company’s top line has not registered any significant growth because of the delay in taking up infrastructure projects in the country.
The construction of Apollo Tyre’s greenfield facility near Budapest in Hungary started in April and the first tyre from this facility would roll out in early 2017. It would have the capacity to produce 5.5 million PCLT (passenger car and light truck) and 675,000 HCV (heavy commercial vehicle) tyres.
The expansion of the Chennai facility at an investment of ₹1,500 crore is currently underway to increase the truck-bus radial facility from 6,000 tyres per day to 9,000, he added.
“We are also looking at the possibility of manufacturing agricultural tyres in the Perambra plant near Chalakkudy in Kerala, which involves fresh investments. We are doing it in a big way in Europe,” Kanwar said. Plans are also afoot to produce industrial tyres from the Kalamassery facility by making an additional investment of ₹100 crore, he said.