Atlanta, Georgia – Apollo Tyres Ltd aims to make significant inroads with its Vredestein brand in the North American market for tier 1 passenger car and light truck tires, according to Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and managing director of Apollo.
The premium tire brand, acquired by Apollo in 2009., is launching a North American campaign in late August: expanding its marketing presence and dealer reach, with an array of products designed specifically for the region.
Vredestein was present in the US from the 1970s to the early 2000s but this is the first time it will be marketed broadly as an Apollo-owned brand.
The strategy that has been more than four years in the making, and might eventually culminate in the opening of a US manufacturing facility.
"For us, the next step in our growth strategy is the US," Kanwar set out in an exclusive interview with Tire Business – adding that the Vredestein brand was the right product for this market.
"Vredestein is our premium brand. And I really want to play in the premium segment," he explained. "I don't want to play in the mass segment."
With capacity at two plants in Europe — in Enschede, Netherlands, and Gyöngyöshalász,Hungary, Kanwar believes Apollo “can now service the North American market, and in Vredestein, it had exactly the right brand heritage needed to credibly compete."
"Vredestein is the only Tier 1 brand in the world of tires which is not significantly present in the US," added the group executive, noting that Apollo has invested more than $30 million in product development for the North American market.
"It's a massive opportunity," said Abhishek Bisht, assistant vice president, Americas, as well as managing director for Reifen.com GmbH, an Apollo Tyres' retail tire/auto service subsidiary in Germany with 31 outlets.
"We want the business partners, the dealers, to realize that opportunity. There isn't another one left in the tire world. Many of them are realizing that. Everything from the way we present ourselves to the product performance to the system processes, everything we are benchmarking ourselves with the best available. And we are doing our best to outdo them."
Apollo has set a goal of $200 million in sales a year in North America, and the idea "is to reach that as soon as possible," continued Bisht. By comparison, Apollo's sales in all markets outside of Asia and Europe in fiscal 2018-19 were $175 million.