Leading global firm Continental AG said that it is eyeing the Indian tyre market, given the fast paced growth and huge demand in this market. “India is one of the key markets for our future growth. We are interested in the passenger car tyre market. We are looking for opportunities to enter the market,” said Helmut Matschi, Member of the Executive Board Continental AG, Interior Division.
“However, it is too early to say how it rolls out and when we will enter the market,” said Claude d’Gama Rose, Managing Director, Continental India. Continental AG said it had been receiving feedback from OEMs on the need for a player to enter this market. Given the fact that many OEMs were looking at exporting their products, they required high quality tyres, Claude said.
Helmut said the Commercial Vehicle Tyre division had revived its collaboration with Modi Tyres in 2009. It is agreed that Modi Tyre would manufacture around one million tyres to be sold under the Continental brand name.
The Indian passenger car tyre market is growing by 35 to 40 per cent, while commercial vehicle market is growing by 50 per cent. Continental is investing in technical innovation and R&D. “In India we plan to increase the R&D engineers by 30 per cent this year,” said Claude. Currently, it has 750 personnel.
The company is also looking at increased localisation out of Continental India for its global auto market said Helmut, but refused to divulge the extent of localisation. They would look at increasing capacity as business grows.
The Asian automotive market is taking great strides and by 2012 every second car is expected to manufacture out of Asia. The company expects, by 2013, 25 per cent of worldwide sales in automotives would be in Asia.
“Focus would be on localisation of value chain,” including local centres to design products, sourcing locally for high technology at low cost, local manufacturing for local and global market needs, he said.