Bangkok: Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone Corporation plans to focus on radialization of commercial vehicles (CV) in India, a segment where it has very little exposure.
The world’s largest tyre-and-rubber-maker, which enjoys close to 30% marketshare in the passenger cars radial tyre segment, wants to strengthen its position in the commercial vehicles market.
“We have to concentrate on radialisation as much as possible. Our aim is to first consolidate our position in the radialisation of the passenger car market and then move on to commercial vehicles,” Bridgestone India senior deputy general manager (marketing) Vaibhav Saraf said.
Radialization refers to changing from traditional tyres that use nylon threads to ones that use steel wires. The rate of radialization among cars, truck and bus manufacturers is increasing rapidly.
Radial tyres help boost mileage significantly, resulting in a net saving of up to 10% on fuel bills.
“We presently hold about 30% market share in passenger cars (PSR) and want to take this to about 34% over the next three years,” Saraf said.
The company’s penetration in the radial segment in heavy commercial vehicles was minimal, Saraf added, without giving details.
“You can expect a lot of new products being launched globally similar to the GR-90 and innovation as part of our growth strategy. We plan to grow more than the industry average of 12-15%,” Saraf added.
The Tokyo-listed company is expecting higher sales of premium passenger car tyres like Adrenalin Potenza RE001 and Bridgestone Potenza RE050 from the Indian market.
It manufactures these next generation car radials in Japan and may ship higher volumes to India in the future.
“India is a different market and it is developing now. We expect increasing sales in the future and so we are expanding the product line up for Adrenalin and RE050. We are looking at an increase in the volume to be shipped to India,” Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, consumer marketing department, general manager, Yoshihiro Tanabe, said.
The Bridgestone RE050 designed and developed as an OE (original equipment) tyre for cars like the Ferrari Enzo, F430, Superamerica, Mercedes AMG and BMW is now available in sedans, which is perhaps the closest one can get to buying the perfromance of a Grand Prix racing tyre.
Last week it launched the Turanza GR-90 globally.
The Japanese tyre-maker has identified India as a significant growth market in the Asia-Pacific and is currently ramping up its manufacturing capacity and dealership network across the country.
It sells its products through exclusive ‘Select’ stores and through a network of 2,000 dealers in the country and plans to ramp up the network to 2,300 over the next three years.
Bridgestone India put up a production facility at Pithampur in Indore March 1998. It will expand manufacturing capacity by 40% to 15,000 tyres per day at an investment of Rs259 crore.
The company is one of the leading tyre-makers in both the OEM (original equipment manufacturers) and replacement markets in the country.