Despite being a principal sponsor of the Indian Motorcycle of the Year Award (IMOTY), since the award’s inception, JK Tyre have always remained a manufacturer of four-wheeler and commercial vehicle tyres. That is set to change now with the company poised to announce its entry into the two-wheeler tyre market
Story: Deepanshu Taumar
JK Tyre, a leading manufacturer of truck and bus radial (TBR) and passenger car tyres, will be foraying into two-wheeler market by launching 3-4 news products in both scooter and motorycycle segment. It will begin production of these tyres in the first quarter of the current financial year. The company plans to produce two-wheeler tyres in-house at the recently acquired Kesoram Facility in Haridwar and will not outsource like many other. The company is planning to launch over ten products for two-wheeler and three-wheeler market. These tyres would be sold through OE and aftermarket route.
Vivek Kamra, President, JK Tyre, told Auto Components India, that “We know how to make tyres and we will manufacture them on our own. We will come up with very good two-wheeler tyres. We are planning to make more than half a million tyres every month.” With its plan to garner a good share in the 15-million annual two-wheeler tyre market, JK has lined up tyres for motorcycles and scooters and 3-4 products in each segment, for the launch. Of late many well-established players in the tyre industry like Apollo Tyres have been entering the growing two-wheeler segment. JK is very optimistic about the two-wheeler tyre market and plans to sell through the OE and aftermarket route. Commenting on the market demand, the President said that “the size of two-wheeler market is 15 million a year. Even if it drops to 14 million, owing to the current lull in the rural market, it is a huge market to tap. The two-wheeler tyres used to be a losing segment. However, we do not foresee any major problem as there is a big market. We have a good product and there will be something unique in our product which will stand out among the rest.”
JK Tyre had spent 2-3 years in developing two-wheeler tyres, in terms of engineering and making substantial investments. The company has completed the expansion of its Chennai facility recently and the acquisition of the Kesoram plant from the BK Birla group is at the final stage. According to Kamra, the new Kesoram facility has 3 plants and they will produce two-wheeler tyres, TBB (Truck and bus bias tyres) and TBR. After the expansion, the Chennai facility can make daily 3300 TBR tyres for commercial vehicles and 12,000 tyres for passenger cars. The company plans to grow in all the segments with the help of the new Laskar plant at Haridwar, and the expanded Chennai facility. It is planning to expand the capacity of its Mysore plant for all steel radial tyres as well.
On growth plans, Kamra said that, “We will grow substantially in commercial vehicles in the coming year. PCR segment will also grow. We have grown much faster than the industry average this year. We hope to sustain this trend in the coming years. We are also ambitious about the next year and we have great plans with all our plants. The investments will keep flowing in the coming year also.” JK Tyre exports 10-15% of its tyres, mainly to the US, South America, South East Asia and Australia. It will also be focusing on replacement market in these countries. The company has a manufacturing facility at Tornell in Mexico, which has its own development centre. It is supplying to some of the OEMs in the US from this facility.
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