Things are not working in favour of the domestic tyre industry as sound surge in the import of Truck and Bus Radials (TBR) continues to bother them. In the past couple of years, the Chinese tyre brands have emerged as serious competitors, which have led to the combined new investments of Rs 35,000 crore by the Indian tyre manufacturers to loom under the gloom. In the FY16, the import of TBR witnessed an increase of 64%.
The largest TBR maker in the country, Apollo Tyres alone has Rs 2,700 crore investment under its pipeline at its Chennai manufacturing facility. This will help it double the TBR capacity to 12,000 tyres per day. After Apollo, MRF and JK Tyres serve at the #2 and #3 spots respectively in this segment.
According to the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), India gets major chunk of TBR import from China. The import in the category was 40% in 2013-14, while it took a giant leap of 90% in 2015-16. In the last two years, the import rose to 2.5 times. The TBR import numbers swelled from 40,000 units and 65,000 units in FY14 and FY15 respectively, to more than 1,00,000 units in FY16, as per the ATMA report.
Currently, TBR segment in India is witnessing advancement with respect to radials from traditional cross-ply tyres. About 40% of the industry is now banking on the radials while the rest is still on cross-ply. Moreover, as per industry pundits, this trend will soon reverse.
The rise in radial demand is also due to the surge in the sales of medium and heavy trucks and buses. In 2014-15, the sales clocked 2,32,755 units, while the latest 2015-16 fy, saw the sales swell to 3,02,373 units, as per the data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
ATMA chairman, Mr. K M Mammen stated that the government should take immediate measures to curb the import of Chinese tyres as the home-grown tyre makers have huge investment plans in the country. And the dumping of cheap China-made is dampening the pitch for local manufacturing.
In case of the TBR production, the capacity utilisation of the manufacturing units has declined from 70% in 2015-16 to 80-85% last year. In India, compared to other categories, TBR is the most rapidly growing large tyre segment, Director-General of ATMA Mr. Rajiv Budhraja said in a statement.