Global tyre major invests in capacity expansion, capabilities at its plant in Modipuram.
Continental Tyres has launched its new range of 19- and 20-inch passenger car radials, targeted at the SUV and premium car segments in India.
The new tyres – Conti SportsContact5 and SportsContact5 SUV – have been localised at its plant in Modipuram near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh after significant capability enhancement which has taken around 18 months to get completed. The new tyres expand Continental's portfolio which now ranges between 13- and 20-inch-diameter sizes for passenger vehicles in India, and will cater to the the estimated 27 million replacement tyre aftermarket.
"India is a big market for us and we will continue to invest into expansion of our operations," said Samir Gupta, MD, Continental Tyres India, while speaking with Autocar Professional.
In conjunction with the recent growth in the country's passenger vehicle segment, the company has augmented its capacity by 15 percent over last year, and says it is currently utilising 100 percent of its installed capacity at Modipuram.
With a focus on low rolling resistance coefficient (RRC), low noise and high wet-grip performance attributes, Continental Tyres says its products, including the SportsContact5 and SportsContact SUV, will be priced at a premium, despite the local manufacturing that still continues to see 60-70 percent of the raw materials being imported to achieve the desired performance results.
"Our target customer is the one focusing more on comfort, performance and safety. We are seeing a significant shift in customer mindset and this category of customers is increasing at a very fast pace, and that's the opportunity for us. India is quickly moving away from being a cost-driven market to a value-driven market," Gupta said.
Network expansion underway
The company is also investing into building its brand and increasing footprint in the Indian market. "Currently, we have over 200 Continental-branded 'image shops' to increase the visibility and make customers experience Continental products. We also assure customers with the 2-year, unconditional ContiSure replacement warranty," he added.
While its tyre range for passenger vehicles is suitable to meet the low RRC and low rolling noise requirements of most electric vehicles (EVs), the company says it will introduce tyres with the ContiSilent and ContiSeal technologies in India at an appropriate time in the near future.
In talks with BYD to supply tyres for its EVs in india
On the global market front, Continental is making strong advances in the tyre market for electric vehicles. Last month, Autocar Professional reported that the company has already received original-equipment approvals for more than 300 different EV models. As per the company, "Seven of the 10 most successful manufacturers of EVs worldwide rely on Continental tyres for their original equipment. Overall, the company’s market share in the EV segment is higher than for cars with combustion engines.”
In CY2021, these EV OEMs included Tesla, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Asian manufacturers such as Kia and BYD, who also rely on tyres from Continental as original equipment for their electric vehicles.
Given this background, it is not surprising that Continental Tyres India is in talks with OEMs like BYD for direct supplies of tyres for its upcoming EVs. "We are in discussions with a few OEMs and BYD is one of them for supplies for the Indian market," said compayn MD, Samir Gupta.
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