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Suppliers target longer tire mileage

The radials selection continues to expand. Bias tires get upgrades.

India tire makers are exploring opportunities in various segments, encouraged by rising vehicle sales in the international and domestic markets. Still, the sector faces a number of challenges, with volatile raw material costs and increased competition from China topping the list. Inflation and interest rates also pose a concern.

Exports by application pie chart
Truck and bus tires topped India’s exports in the line between April and September 2010, representing one-third of shipments, according to ATMA.

Amid this business environment, companies are releasing more radial models, which offer generally longer tread life and better fuel mileage than bias types.

Such designs are now adopted in the majority of passenger cars, while utilization in light commercial and heavy vehicles, and two- and three-wheelers is growing. The last two segments are particularly attractive to those tapping the domestic market, since demand is on the rise thanks to the increased urbanization of small towns.

Falcon Tyres Ltd is among the companies developing radials for two- and three-wheeler applications. Its current selection consists mainly of bias types.

Even with the trend for radialization, however, several manufacturers still see opportunities in bias constructions, expecting demand for the line to remain strong in the next few years. Modi Tyres Co. (P) Ltd, for example, is anticipating growth of 20 to 30 percent in 2011 for nylon cross-ply designs.

R&D work on bias tires often revolves around improving nonskid depth for longer mileage, especially for truck and heavy-vehicle applications.

Michigan Rubber (India) Ltd is updating its selection to keep up with the new vehicle makes that are constantly being released. The company is expecting domestic tire consumption to rise 8 to 10 percent this year.

Cost control is a key strategy in suppliers’ efforts to boost competitiveness against China counterparts in coming months, regardless of their specialization and target applications. In line with this, Falcon is looking into new compounds that will help reduce manufacturing outlay.

Production & exports
Production & exports

India is home to more than 30 tire manufacturers. The industry is highly concentrated, with the 10 largest suppliers accounting for over 95 percent of output.

According to the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association, production between April and September 2010 grew 28 percent YoY to 57.2 million pieces. Models for motorcycles, mopeds and scooters together accounted for 52 percent of output, while designs for passenger cars constituted 21 percent.

Exports during the six-month period rose 18 percent YoY to 29.2 million pieces. Truck and bus tires made up 30 percent of deliveries abroad.

Light commercial vehicles and passenger cars had a combined share of 40 percent.

Radialization is at 98 percent in passenger car tires. The rate for the LCV segment is 18 percent, while the level for truck and bus types is about 12 percent.

Related articles:
Automotive parts: Challenges moderate bright outlook
Wheel rims & covers: Lightweight line poised for growth

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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