Apollo Tyres today opened its sixth global manufacturing plant, and its second unit in Europe, near Budapest in Hungary. The plant inauguration was done by the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban.
Present on the occasion were Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian foreign affairs and trade minister; Rahul Chhabra, ambassador of India to Hungary; Onkar S Kanwar, chairman; Neeraj Kanwar, vice-chairman and managing director, Apollo Tyres. The company’s Board of Directors and its senior management team was also present.
The Hungarian plant is Apollo Tyres’ first greenfield facility outside India and showcases some of the best practices available worldwide in tyre manufacturing. It is a highly automated plant which uses both IT-driven systems and robotics as also young and skilled associates on the shopfloor, mostly hired locally.
Speaking on the occasion, Onkar S Kanwar, chairman, Apollo Tyres said, “With this inauguration today of our Hungary greenfield facility, we have crossed another milestone in our global growth journey. This facility will help us further increase our presence and market share in Europe. From being a replacement market-focused company in Europe, we would soon be starting supplies of our tyres to all the leading OEs in Europe.”
Built over 72 hectares, construction began on site in April 2015. The company is investing euro 475 million (Rs 3,630 crore) in this facility. The final capacity at the end of Phase I would be 5.5 million passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tyres and 675,000 commercial vehicle tyres. This facility will complement Apollo Tyres’ existing facility in the Netherlands, and will produce both Apollo and Vredestein brand of tyres for the European market.
Four decades of making tyres
The inauguration also marks 40 years for the company being in the business of manufacturing and selling of tyres. Apollo Tyres began its journey in the mid-1970s from a single plant in the rubber producing state of Kerala. It started with making only truck tyres, became the market leader in the segment, and then entered other product segments. The company ventured into passenger vehicle tyres in the year 2000 but quickly became the largest producer of these tyres in India. Similarly, it entered the truck-bus radial segment around 2006, and already has the largest capacity in this segment in India.
Apollo Tyres says it has a rich history of ‘firsts’. It was the first Indian tyre major to make an international acquisition in 2006, followed by a second one in 2009, and was also the first one to start selling India-made products in the European market, considered to be the most advanced automotive market. The company is now poised to be a major force in key international markets on the back of its significant investments in R&D and manufacturing, supported by its brand building activities.