Antonio Capellini, CMD, Goodyear India

The chairman and managing director of Goodyear India tells P Tharyan that the coming years will see the country emerge as an important hub in the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to global sourcing for the parent company.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 14 Feb 2007 Views icon4440 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Antonio Capellini, CMD, Goodyear India

Could you give us an idea of your operations at your two plants in Aurangabad and Ballabgarh (Haryana)?
An important part of our India strategy is not to just evaluate capacities. As a corporation, it is not the local market alone that is important but also the international arena. By 2010, Goodyear will source ten percent of its global needs from the Asia-Pacific region and this could include India, China or the Asean region. We make all our car radial tyres as well as offroad tyres at the Aurangabad plant in Maharashtra. The Ballabgarh facility rolls out bias tyres for light and medium trucks, graders and for the farm sector.

With the government planning to make BIS quality certification mandatory for all tyres made and sold in India, would you need this for the new ‘Excellence’ brand?
The Indian government has been talking about such standard requirements similar to DOT (in the US) and EC for Europe. We have learnt that this norm could be in place here by the end of this year. Once we were updated about the government intentions, we began working in our domestic organisation for the domestic market and internationally for the products we import in India. We will be ready when the government implements this new norm.

When will you begin making the ‘Excellence’ tyres here?
They are now being imported from a plant in Dalian, China. Once we reach a critical mass in India, we may go in for local production. At this moment, we have not done any study to determine what this critical mass could be. The technology to make these tyres is readily available with us. We have our own development centres that can send it to the plant here in case we decide to go in for manufacturing. The tyres that we make at our various plants adhere to a single quality standard. The decision to manufacture here will depend not only on achieving critical mass in India but in Asia too. Right now, we are in the first year of ‘Excellence’ in various markets and in the next three years, its demand will prompt us to think a lot bigger.

How do you propose to meet needs of carmakers in India?
Goodyear is the only tyre maker in India that has been approved to supply tyres to all carmakers in the country as an OE fitment. We take care of their needs in either one, two or three platforms. With our new tyres, we intend to target the premium luxury segment comprising Skoda, Honda Accord/Civic, Mercedes etc. We have also been approved by Mercedes S class as an OE supplier.

On the retail front, how has the experience with Goodyear exclusive outlets been?
Let me try and explain why this did not work well but it is important to understand it in perspective. It is not about Goodyear exclusive stores going wrong but about the category itself. No company’s exclusive store has taken off which is apparent from the rapidly diminishing number of outlets over the years. Why did this happen? Typically, customers in India prefer an array of choices and to compare brand A with B and C. This is not possible in an exclusive store and explains why they just did not take off and this has not been confined to tyres alone. In India, we have a multi-brand store where we take what we call a Goodyear corner. We create an ambience in a part of the store. Here, a customer can come in, see our tyre and learn more about it in an airconditioned environment. He also gets the opportunity to compare it with another brand which is what gives him a greater level of satisfaction. The key objective of our branded retailing is to drive traffic into the stores. The shopkeeper knows that the company is not merely putting products in his store and then leaving him to fend for his business.

Are Goodyear India tyres exported to different parts of the world?
It depends on our needs because most of our exports are to our sister companies. If there is a need for a particular tyre with higher volumes, we export it from India. The countries we send our tyres to include Europe, Brazil, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

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