Michelin eyes EV segment for future growth in India
French tyre maker Michelin will double the capacity in its Chennai, India plant to 30,000 tonnes per year from 15,000 tonnes now by 2018 end. The company expects an advantage in terms of products to suit the Electric Vehicles (EV) segment and its Indian investments are in line with exploring such possibilities. The expansion is part of Michelin’s plan to expand its presence in the truck tyre market both in India and abroad.
In order to cater to the increased demand from both the replacement market and original equipment manufacturers in India, Michelin has inaugurated a new state of the art production line for the Michelin X Guard range of tyres in its Chennai plant.
“India is a priority market for us and growing demand for our products in the country reaffirms our commitment to keep innovating for our customers here. In a very short time, our Chennai plant has evolved to become one of our most advanced manufacturing facilities globally. The purpose of this plant was to cater to the needs to the Indian market and I am happy to see that we are on target in this journey. The Michelin X Guard was conceived to address the Indian market’s need for a tyre that is fuel efficient, safe and lasts longer and to this end we adapted the very best of Michelin technologies to produce a premium tyre at an affordable price,” said Jean-Dominique Senard, Chief Executive Officer of Michelin Group.
At present, around 70 per cent of the commercial vehicle tyres sold by the company in India are made in the Chennai plant. The Chennai plant currently operates at full capacity and exports about 10-20 per cent of its production.
Michelin has so far invested about Rs 3,500 crore in India in manufacturing and R&D assets. It has signed an agreement with Ashok Leyland to supply its X Guard range of radial truck tyres for its CVs. The company currently has a headcount of about 850 and is looking at adding 150 more direct employees to cater to its expansion plan. It has an R&D facility in Gurgaon, which works for both Indian and global requirement. Michelin has also tie up with TVS Srichakra to meet a part of its two-wheeler tyre sales in India.