Bangkok: Leading Japanese tyre-maker Bridgestone Corporation wants to capture a third of the growing passenger car market in India and is currently ramping up manufacturing capacity and dealership network across the country.
The world’s largest tyre and rubber manufacturer has identified India as a significant growth market in the Asia- Pacific region, but has, however, adopted a wait-and-wait policy on expansion in the US and Europe.
“The Indian market is our top priority in the Asia-Pacific region. We are going to put more focus on the Indian market than ever and are considering and discussing many possibilities for expansion,” Bridgestone Asia Pacific general manager for consumer marketing department Yoshihiro Tanabe said.
The company has a production facility at Pithampur near Indore and has announced an investment of Rs259 crore for expansion. This will increase production capacity by over 40% to 15,000 tyres per day by the middle of next year.
Bridgestone will also hire 300 more people as part of the expansion plan in the country.
The Tokyo-listed company also plans to have a dealership network of around 2,300 in the next three years from the existing 2,000-odd dealers, Bridgestone India senior deputy general manager for marketing Vaibhav Saraf said.
“The global meltdown has not affected India as much as it hurt the Western economies. Demand is growing and so we want to capture more than one-third of its passenger car market by 2012,” he said.
Bridgestone was one of the first manufacturers to launch radial tyres in the domestic car market. It enjoys close to 30% market share of the radial segment today.
Bridgestone launched the Turanza GR-90, an ultra-luxury performance tyre for smooth touring experience, in the Thai capital on Thursday.
“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 new product will replace the older GR-80 and the company claims that it will provide a more comfortable and quiet drive of premium cars.
GR-90 is part of the 78-year-old company’s line-up of next generation car radials—HP Sport Tyre and Adrenalin Potenza RE001—exclusively designed for the SUV and premium luxury car segment. GR-90 is already being manufactured in Thailand, Japan and Indonesia.
The new tyres will be shipped to India in the first quarter of next year,” Tanabe said.
Bridgestone India set up base in India in February 1996 and set up the factory two years later at Kheda near Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The company is one of the leading tyre-makers in both the OEM and replacement markets in the country.