Speaking after a tire launch event for dealers and press, 30-31 Aug at the Silverstone race track – home of the UK Grand Prix – Lee revealed that Maxxis had just retained its position as the world’s ninth largest tire maker in the latest rankings in the ERJ Global Tire Report.
“As you know, the no 8 [ranked tire maker] is Yokohama Rubber Co. and we are working hard to grow [our position] in the future,” said Lee, noting that Maxxis will soon add two new tire plants to bolster its existing global production set-up comprising 16 facilities.
Yuanlin, Taiwan-based Maxxis maintained its position among the top 10 tire makers despite posting a 12.7% year-on-year decline in 2015 sales, to $3,847.0 million.
Explaining the decline, Maxxis spokesman Ivan Lee said that TBR markets in China had become “extremely competitive” last year, with Maxxis losing ground to rival Chinese tire makers.
With regard to Maxxis’ prospects in China over the next 12 months, Ivan Lee believes that the market had now “stabilised” adding that “the large Chinese makers keep expanding their production capacity and advancing their technology, so we are expecting more challenges from top Chinese tire-makers.”
Pointing to a pick-up for Maxxis in Asia, Ivan Lee reported: “This year, we launched new TBR products in China and the sales are being recovered. We are looking forward to a 5%-10% growth this year.
“We are especially strong in China, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. The most promising market for Maxxis would be India where we are now constructing a new factory.”
Maxxis, which today employs over 31,000 people, will reach is 50th anniversary next year: having started as a manufacturer of bicycle tires in Taiwan in 1967.
The company currently operates six tire factories in Taiwan; eight in China (five in Xiamen and one each in Chongqing, Shanghai and Tianjin), one in Rayong, Thailand and one in Dong Nai, Vietnam. Capacity totals over 1 million tires a day across the group.
“To make sure that supply will be no problem in the future we are expanding by building new factories in Indonesia and India,” Maxxis’ vice president Lenny Lee said at Silverstone.
The new plant in Indonesia, costed at around $320 million, will produce passenger car and motorcycle tires. It is located in Suryacipta City of Industry in Karawang, east of Jakarta. and will, said Ivan Lee, have a capacity to produce 40,000 units/day of motorcycle tires and 6,000 units/day of PCR tires.
In the Indian state of Gujarat, Maxxis plans to establish a $400-million facility that will initially manufacture motorcycle tires and tubes. The plant, near Ahmedabad, has a projected capacity of around 20,000 units per day and will eventually employ about 2,000 people.
Trial production at the two factories will begin in late 2016, with commercial operations scheduled to start early next year, Lenny Lee told ERJ during the UK event.
Also at the Silverstone launch, Derek McMartin, UK managing director at Maxxis, said that the Taiwanese company supplies tires to most automotive OEs, except in the ultra-high performance segment.
“Apart from that you will find we have business with most OE manufactures around the world and increasingly so in Europe as well now,” he said. “We are world no 1 in areas of the market where we have dominance. In Asia we are one of the dominant brands."
McMaster went on to highlight Maxxis’ credentials in both materials and tire development. The company, he said, had about 1,200 R&D staff and is currently expanding its tire testing facilities in Shanghai on the back of an on-going programme with Mercedes.
At Silverstone, the company launched the Premitra HP5 tire, which sports its first full silica tread compound and is designed particularly for the European market.