Continental enters Indian tyre market

by 29 Dec 2008

Continental AG, global automotive supplier and leading tyre-maker, has entered the Indian aftermarket tyre business. This is its first direct tyre initiative in India. The tyre maker plans to develop a strong presence in the Indian aftermarket and seize possible opportunities with OE manufacturers.

According to Dr Andreas Esser, executive vice- president - Replacement Asia - Tyres, “The launch is a part of our overall growth strategy and commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. We have tyre manufacturing locations in (Malaysia) and a worldwide presence in 14 countries. Our products are marketed in almost all the countries in the Asia-Pacific region and we strive to develop a significant share here in India as well.”

Continental feels it is a good time to enter the market. India’s passenger car production has grown from 0.72 million in 2002-03 to 1.76 million in 2007-08 at a rate of 20 percent CAGR. Likewise, tyre requirements in the OEM and replacement markets have grown close to 17 million in the current year.

It is this growth that Continental intends to tap. Prashant Kumar, director – marketing and sales (tyres) for India, says, “The effects of the global recession can be felt in the automotive segment here. But we don’t have to fear the slowdown as our core target resides in the aftermarket.”

Kumar adds, “Continuous economic development and global exposure have brought in significant demand for high quality tyres, resulting in a huge market in this segment. Continental is entering the aftermarket for this segment, with its premium tyres that offer state-of-the-art safety and comfort features.”

Continental already has six component manufacturing facilities in India and an R&D centre in Bangalore. It does not have a tyre manufacturing facilty in India as yet. The company will import tyres to India from its production facilities in Europe and Malaysia. The company will target the premium car tyre market in India. It will import tubeless tyres which are 13 inches and above.

While selling its tubeless tyres in India, the company will also study the feasibility of setting up a tyre manufacturing unit here.