By Patrick Raleigh, ERJ On-line news editor
New Delhi, India-Michelin Apollo Tyres Pvt Ltd-the new 51:49 joint venture between Groupe Michelin and Apollo Tyres Ltd of India-has announced further details of its plan to establish tyre production in India.
Michelin Apollo Tyres was officially established in March to manufacture and supply radial truck and bus tyres in India. The company also plans to market and sell Michelin passenger car tyres in the sub continent.
To create the JV, Michelin agreed to buy a 14.9-percent stake in Apollo for $28 million, and to provide technical support for the manufacture of Apollo passenger car radials. The two partners agreed to invest Euro75 million over the next four years to build a tyre plant in India.
The plant will be based in Ranjangaon in the Maharashtra region and have a capacity of 300, 000 to 350 000 tyres/yr, according to a Michelin spokeswoman. The unit is expected to come on stream in the second half of 2005 and reach its target capacity by 2007.
In the meantime, the joint venture will supply a new range of radial truck & bus tyres specially designed for the Indian market. The range, which is based on technology from majority partner Michelin, is initially being imported for distribution through Apollo's dealer network.
These will be 20-inch tyres, the most commonly used truck and bus tyre in the Indian market, said the spokeswoman, adding that the tyres will carry both Michelin and Apollo trademarks on its sidewall.
â€œThe two trademarks on the tyre is a concrete demonstration of the partnership between Apollo Tyres Ltd and Michelin, and the contribution each partner brings to the joint venture,â€ said Michelin's HervÃ© Dub, in a press statement.
Dub officially takes over as CEO of Michelin Apollo Tyres in May 2004. He will head a JV board, which will also include Jean-Marc FranÃ§ois, HervÃ© Richert and Dominique Galopin from Michelin; as well as Apollo executives Onkar Kanwar, Neeraj Kanwar, and Satish Sharma, Michelin stated.
â€œThe launch of these fuel-efficient tyres, customised to Indian road conditions, is a further step towards enhancing customer comfort.â€ commented Kanwar, who is chairman of Apollo. â€œWith the rapid infrastructure development and the emphasis on construction of world-class highways, the transport industry will receive a huge impetus,â€ he claimed.