Apollo Tyres Forays into Off-Highway Segment

Apollo Tyres
Apollo Tyres, which currently commands unmatched brand value in on-highway vehicles segment, in a recent move it has announced its aggressive forays into off-highway tires segment. In fact, the company has taken the latest initiative to make the most of the huge future business potentials in tire mounted mobile construction and mining equipment catalyzed by the spurt in growth in the Indian infrastructure sector. In view of this, the Indian tyre manufacturing major that already has a fair flair of the market now proposes to establish a footprint in the off-highway tyre segment. The company is optimistic that the brand value that it currently commands in the on-highway segment, will facilitate it in attaining an unassailable position in the new segment as well.

However, the task could prove to be an uphill task for the manufacturer on multiple accounts. Firstly, Tyres for off-highway applications are strictly produced on their required applications requiring more than hauling loads. Secondly, with suitability to applications, the tyres have to synchronize with the standards set by the individual original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), so as to have a mark of the brand. Additionally, the tyres have to deliver reliability characterized by long-term replacements. Finally, it has to be equipped itself ensuring timely customer support at remote locations as situation demands and Apollo Tires Ltd, has already put in place all the necessary ingredients and structure to cater to the requirements of the off-highway segment.

The company's strategy behind producing tyres for the new segment has been guided by the core philosophy of 'fit to application'. Backed by the philosophy, Apollo tyres currently has offerings in seven segments for on-highway vehicles involving heavy commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. In addition, it also caters to the requirements for passenger cars, sports utility vehicles, light trucks and bicycle tyres apart from providing re-treading materials and re-treaded tyres. The products are strictly made based on the precise application of the vehicles. While catering to the requirements tire mounted off-highway equipment, the same manufacturing principle is adhered to. Product developments are strictly carried after intensive interactions with customers in off-highway segment catering to the requirements of infrastructure building and mining sectors. Members of its service team closely work with customers, understanding the job site requirements where the equipment will be finally deployed and develops compounds that are once again made 'fit to applications' based on the requirements standards of OEMs.

Apollo's R&D wing is instrumental in certifying its product line matching its brand quality. Recommendations of the customers are expanded and given shape by its core research and development team. It develops the required design and also undertakes testing of the compound intended to be used for producing the tyres. Precise elements like gradient variants where the equipment will be working, levels of traction required are taken into account while designing the tyres. These are the key elements for off-highway tyres functioning for infrastructure and mining applications. In totality, the R&D team which also works on developing products for passenger and cargo vehicles has at its disposal elaborate experience and knowledge pool that is being utilized for developing the tires for off-highway applications. Based on the heterogeneous requirements of construction and mining applications and moreover the company is currently in the process of expanding its R&D team.

As of now, it is directly marketing its off-highway tyres, which come under industrial category, directly to OEMs. Being made 'fit to application' the tyres are produced and marketed to manufacturers based on their set standards. There is a big potential of selling the tyres to OEMs as number of new entrants are making beeline in the Indian market along with existing manufacturers expanding their wheel mounted offerings. However, in near future it may also look to promote its tyres to the replacement market in the long-term in view of the big business potentials. It is currently marketing its tyres to OEMs including JCB, Escorts Construction Equipment Limited, Leyland Deere etc for the usage in equipment like backhoe loaders, dozers, industrial tractors, motor graders, tipper trucks, and compactors and the company is also in the process of expanding its portfolio for wheel loaders, wheel excavators, skid steer loaders and mobile cranes.

In fact, the tyres are made of advanced features, comprising 'y' shaped lugs for hard and tough underfoot conditions, extra strong casing and reduced exposed sea area for concussion free performance, heat resistant compound with reinforced carbon black and silica for crack free cooler performance. Tyres for backhoe loaders and motor graders have extra strong nylon carcass for high load carrying capacity. Tyres for motor graders produced by Apollo have design features comprising block tread pattern designed for flat and wide footprint with uniform pressure distribution, traded design to provide better floatation characteristics and minimal soil disturbance. Large tread depth for strong grip and excellent road ability are the added competitive features for tyres produced for motor graders.

Catering to the requirements of its customers in the off highway tyre segment, it has set up its tyres manufacturing facilities at Kochi and Baroda in India. In the offshore arena, it has world class facilities in South Africa and Netherlands and these facilities are being expanded matching the future demand scenario. The manufacturing plants are dedicated for producing off-highway tyres for the Indian market apart from selling the tyres in the export market.
NBM&CW Februray 2013
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