The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in every other manufacturing industry across the globe. And with the automotive industry facing temporary suspension, the tyre industry in India predicts a loss of nearly Rs 5000 crore in the coming months. As per the tyre sector experts, prior to the Coronavirus crises, the industry was gaining momentum and performing somewhat better around January this year compared to the same period last year.
Infected cases in India are rising on a daily basis forcing established auto and tyre manufacturers to close down their production facilities to a certain or indefinite period. So let’s see how amid the lockdown leading tyre manufacturers in the country are complying with the state and central government’s attempt to ensure social distancing of their staff and workers.
Apollo Tyres Ltd.
The leading tyre manufacturer for cars, SUVs and Truck & Bus Radials (TBR), etc., Apollo Tyres’ manufacturing units across India are under suspension. Its plants in the states of Kerala, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are shut till March 31, 2020. Apollo has taken many precautionary approaches to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the staff members of various departments are instructed to work from home during the lockdown period.
Owing to the grave impact of the pandemic on the automotive industry, the leadership team and senior management of Apollo Tyres has declared a voluntary reduction in their pay. The Gurugram-based tyre giant sees 25 percent cut in the salary of the leadership team, while the senior management comes forward with the voluntary cutback of 15 percent in their salaries.
“Apollo Tyres has a diversified and multinational presence and the pay cuts will affect all senior management at the global level. Coronavirus is impacting sales and profitability across the automotive industry as anticipation builds that the worst is yet to come with COVID-19”, Chairman & Managing Director, Onkar S Kanwar said in a statement.
JK Tyre & Industries
Following Apollo, JK Tyre was the second tyre maker to announce a pay cut for its senior management. Showcasing solidarity in the times of deteriorating market conditions due to COVID-19 pandemic, JK Tyre directors and others see a salary cut of 25 percent, while the senior management opts for a voluntary cut back of 15-20 percent. This pay cut, due to unfavourable effects of Coronavirus, is applicable throughout JK Tyre conglomerate in India and across its global operations.
According to JK Tyre statement, “Tyre Industry has been passing through difficult times owing to unprecedented slow down and disruption in the supply chain. This has been aggravated by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that the situation may worsen further”.
The Chennai-based tyre maker has suspended the activities of all its manufacturing plants across India due to the fight against COVID-19. In addition to the facilities, MRF has also shut down its head office and sales offices under the ongoing 21-day lockdown.
The prominent tyre maker owns nine manufacturing plants that include four in Tamil Nadu, two in Telangana and one each in Kerala, Puducherry and Goa. The four sales networks of MRF are also facing a similar fate during the lockdown announced by the Prime Minister.
Going with the various advisory directives issued by the Central & State Government of India during the novel Coronavirus, CEAT has suspended all its manufacturing operations pan India. The Mumbai-headquartered tyre and tube manufacturer issued a statement which said that the company is taking all the suggested preventive measures to safeguard the health of its personnel and to evade the spread of the fatal disease. Given the critical situation, CEAT is practising the work from home policy for all its offices.
Current Outlook of the Leading International Tyre Brands
French tyre maker Michelin has temporarily stalled its tyre manufacturing units in North America, Canada, and other regions sighting the adverse effects of COVID-19. After the phased suspension of two weeks, the production of some critical tyre products will commence, which includes the manufacturing of critical tyres. Meanwhile, the distribution of Michelin products will remain intact through logistic activities and will support customers with available inventories.
On the suspension of production Michelin stated, “While we are facing some supply chain disruption, our components, semi-finished and finished products are still able to circulate. As the situation changes we will make adjustments to our production accordingly. It is still too early to assess any possible impact this situation could have on our industry long-term.”
One of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, Bridgestone has shut down its production factories in Latin America and North America. The temporary lockdown will continue for the next 3 weeks, which will affect the lives of more than 15,000 employees at its tyre facilities. The Japanese tyre giant’s facilities will remain closed till April 12, 2020.
The tyre giant has asked its headquarter workforce to work remotely for a period of one month due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, Bridgestone has also limited the domestic and international business travel of its employees.
The Finnish tyre maker has slashed the number of staff members at its Finland factory. And more than 1600 employees working at the plant are sent on temporary leave, as a precautionary measure. The representative of Nokian Tyres cleared the air stating that besides the COVID-19 pandemic, another main reason for the shrink in the workforce was the sluggish demand in the European car and tyre market.
Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Co.
The American tyre major halts operations across all its production units in the United States (US). Goodyear facilities will be shut till April 3, 2020, or until further notice during the critical coronavirus pandemic. In a phased manner, the company will wind down its factories in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the United States in the coming times. As per Goodyear, the shutdown is resulted due to, ″the sudden decline in market demand resulting from the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.″
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the auto industry body, stated that the shutdown of the production factories of various automakers and component manufacturers during COVID-19 pandemic will trigger a loss of over Rs 2,300 crore per day.
The tyre industry in India was already in a quandary with depriving automotive sales owing to the BSVI transition and global slowdown in the international automotive industry. And with the spread out of Coronavirus pandemic, the situation has only worsened for the tyre companies. As per a study, the tyre demand is anticipated to keep low even post lockdown and will take some months to get the business on track.
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