JK Tyre has rolled out the 10 millionth Truck & Bus Radial (TBR) tyre from its Mysore plant; will invest Rs 100 crore to build a R&D centre at Mysore.
Pioneering radial technology in India in 1977, JK Tyre has rolled out the 10 millionth TBR tyre from its plant at Mysore. Seeking growth organically as well as inorganically, the company, with 12 state-of-the-art modern production facilities in India and Mexico, and with a capacity exceeding 20 million tyres per annum, is set to integrate its research and development functions spread across different locations in the country at its Mysore plant. Enjoying a presence in 90 countries, the company is expecting the centre to be functional by October 2016, and will contain the most advanced equipment. Announced Dr. Raghupati Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director, JK Tyres and Industries, “The facility will house the most advanced equipment, that will be operated by highly experienced engineers and scientists with deep insight into material resources, structures, and design and aesthetics.” to be built with an investment of Rs.100 crore, the new centre will be managed by 200 employees in the initial phase. By the end of the next year the centre is expected to double, and will be spread across one-lakh sq. ft. area. Expressed Dr. Singhania, “Technology has always been the backbone of our growth. The consolidation (of R&D activities) will help us to maintain leadership in the tyre industry.”
Manufacturing a range of tyres that cater to diverse business segments, the roll out of 10 millionth TBR tyre from the Mysore plant marks a significant development for JK Tyre. One reason is the TBRs expected growth; the TBR tyre segment is pegged to surge past 50 per cent in the next few years. TBRs are also expected to be the growth drivers for the Indian tyre industry apart from passenger radials and the farm and LCV segments. The other reason is the (Vikrant Tyre) plant at Mysore, which was acquired by JK Tyre in 1996. The acquisition of Vikrant Tyre, a Government of Karnataka undertaking, formed the basis for company’s inorganic growth. In 2008, the company acquired Hulera Tornel in Mexico.
When JK Tyre took control of the Mysore plant it was sick. JK Tyre successfully turned it around in less than a year. it also safeguarded the interests of 2000 employees. “Till date, we have invested close to Rs.1200 crore at Mysore. The plant employs 13000 people from the state of Karnataka,” mentioned Dr. Singhania. Drawing attention towards cheap Chinese tyre imports, RV Deshpande, Minister for Large Scale and Medium Scale Industries and Infrastructure Development, Government of Karnataka, in his speech expressed, “China is dumping tyres at a price that is 40 to 50 per cent cheaper than Indian tyres. It is a problem that needs to be checked.” “It is affecting the competitiveness of the Indian tyre industry,” he added. Deshpande called for anti-dumping duty to be levied on Chinese tyre imports.
Gunning for growth
Setting up of its first tyre plant at Kankroli, Rajasthan, with an installed capacity of 0.50 million tyres per annum, JK Tyre ventured into the manufacture of truck radials in 1999. Investing in a capacity to build a whopping three and a half million TBRs, JK Tyre is gunning for growth. In fact, it has experienced strong growth. Hunger for more growth continues. A multi-fold growth has led to the setting up of 12 plants globally, including three in Mexico. Explained Dr. Singhania, “In April 2016, we forayed into the two-wheeler tyre segment with the Rs.2,195 crore acquisition of Cavendish Industries Ltd. tyre plant at Laksar, Haridwar. Entry into the high growth segment of two and three wheeler tyres has further strengthened our position in the Indian market. From a two-kilogram scooter tyre toa 3.7-tonne ultra large OTR tyre, we have a complete range of tyres to offer.”
JK Tyre and Industries completed the second phase of construction at Chennai for a pure radial facility in the last quarter. It has invested Rs.1430 crore towards the building of this facility. The plant, according to Dr. Singhania, rolls out 12 lakh TBRs and 45 lakh passenger car radials. The capacity can be scaled up to two million truck radials and 10 million passenger car radials. Once the undergoing expansion at the JK Tyre’s Mexican plants is over, the TBR capacity is expected to reach five million per year from the current three and half million units.
Expanding the horizon
In order to expand the horizon and reduce the carbon footprint, JK Tyre has been moving ahead with an objective to manufacture green tyres. These tyres would offer lower rolling resistance and thereby save fuel. Dr. Singhania is of the opinion that his company has achieved a total energy benchmark level of 10.9 gigajoules per tonne. ‘Carbon Footprint Verification process’ standards set up by the British Standard Institute. He averred, “At the process level, JK Tyre is constantly reducing tyre industry carbon footprint by reducing energy and water consumption, the critical resources used in the manufacture of tyre.” JK Tyre has created a fleet management programme. As part of the programme, close to 900 fleets are serviced by a team of dedicated professionals whose aim is to derive optimal value out of the tyres. JK Tyre, under the programme, also offers assistance to implement practices like fit-to-application, proper fitment procedures, correct inflation pressure, timely rotation and corrective actions for abnormal wear. In order to serve the customers better, the company has also invested in a dealer network that amounts to 4000 numbers across the country. The company has been setting up a chain of retail outlets. Both, JK Tyre Steel Wheels and JK Tyre Truck Wheels is striving to provide high end tyre care assistance. The two channels are also aiming at helping customers to get the most out of their tyres.