Companies

Michelin’s Chennai plant to go on stream soon

R. Balaji Chennai | Updated on January 04, 2014

Production at the Rs 4,000-crore plant has stabilised and four assembly lines are already in operation.





French tyre-maker Michelin’s made-in-India tyres for commercial vehicles will roll into the domestic market in the next three months from its plant near Chennai.

Production at the Rs 4,000-crore plant has stabilised and four of the six tyre-assembling lines are in operation. They make about 250 truck and bus radial tyres daily. Two more lines will start soon.

The production now is about one-third of the full annual capacity of about 300,000 radial tyres for commercial vehicles.

For now, the tyres are being stacked in a warehouse ahead of the launch. The output will be ramped up in stages to full capacity during the year, said Thomas Remi, Site Project Manager, Michelin India Tamil Nadu Tyres Pvt Ltd.

The factory, for which Michelin entered into an investment agreement with the Tamil Nadu Government in 2009, is at Thervoy Kandigai, about 65 km north of Chennai, in Thiruvallur district. It occupies nearly a third of the 300-acre plot.

Michelin India is among the first to start production at the industrial estate, promoted by the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu.

Spread over 800 acres, the industrial estate is expected to attract more investments drawn by the presence of Michelin.

There are signs of construction activity in the vicinity as more factories are coming up — among them is Beckaert, a supplier of steel cords for Michelin.

Michelin’s factory is complete except for some final touches. Soon, Remi, who moved to India after being involved with setting up Michelin’s factory in China, will move on to the next site.

Among the largest

For the company, the Tamil Nadu plant, as Michelin India President and MD Nicolas Beaumont described in a recent interaction with Business Line, is a “backbone project”. It will be one of its largest production hubs.

One of the top three globally, Michelin India plans to expand production.

The facility will match Michelin’s largest project, in Poland, where the company employs over 4,000 workers. Michelin India now employs over 1,050, with about 900 in the factory.

Over 250 workers spent up to two years in training in France and 250 spent a few months there. The rest are being trained here. Michelin does not believe in poaching from competition, said Beaumont.

While a relatively late entrant, Michelin believes that the time is right for its entry. It is entering India when demand for radial tyres for commercial vehicles is set to grow. The presence of new OEMs, new models and brands will drive the shift to radial tyres the same way it happened in cars. Michelin will initially target the aftermarket segment, he said.



balaji.ar@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 04, 2014
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