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Tyre makers roll into desi 2-wheeler cos’ export markets

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NEW DELHI : Tyre companies looking to expand globally are following in the footsteps of two-wheeler majors to explore export markets where Indian brands have a strong presence. Tyre exports have picked up speed with vehicle makers in the US and Latin America following a ‘China plus one’ strategy.

For two-wheeler tyres, the export route is also driven by Indian brands in global markets. This is also showing up in the export numbers — Two-wheeler tyre exports have nearly doubled from 25.6 lakh units in FY21 to 46.7 lakh units in FY22, according to data from Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association. Two-wheeler tyre exports have jumped from 12,81,000 units in 2017-18 to 19,69,000 in 2018-19 to 21,08,000 units in 2019-20. This is in step with the jump in two-wheeler exports, which went up from 32.8 lakh units in FY21 to 44.4 lakh units in FY22 — a growth of over 35%.

CEOs of tyre companies say tapping markets like Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa makes sense partly because of their similarity to Indian markets, but mostly because that’s where Indian two-wheeler exports are currently headed. Ceat MD Anant Goenka said, “When it comes to two-wheeler exports, we are looking at Indonesia, Brazil and Africa, which are markets where Indian two-wheeler companies also export their products, so it is a natural fit for us.” Ceat will focus first on Indonesia followed by Brazil for two-wheeler tyre exports, Goenka added.

The focus on Indonesia is understandable given that Indian companies have been focusing on the Indonesian market. Take TVS Motor, which clocked 1 million units of two-wheeler exports in FY22 to markets like Indonesia, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. Similarly, Hero MotoCorp crossed 3 lakh units in global sales for the first time in FY22 selling in Latin American, African and South Asian markets. Bajaj Auto for its part clocked exports of 25 lakh vehicles in FY22 with a commanding presence in many of these markets.

With the volumes coming in, tyre companies are also niche hunting. Apollo Tyres President Satish Sharma said, “We are tapping the high-end performance market of steel-belted motorcycle radials in the Asia-Pacific region besides India.” The company, he added, is in “conversation and in product approval stage” with Indian and India-owned premium brands as well.

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