Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban formally inaugurated on April 7th, 2017 Apollo Tyres’ 6th global tyre manufacturing unit and the second one in Europe. Witnessing the event were the company’s Chairman Onkar S. Kanwar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director Neeraj Kanwar and its board of directors and senior management team.
Located less than 100km from the capital Budapest, this is Apollo Tyres’ first greenfield facility outside India. Described as a reflection of the company’s growth aspirations and manufacturing capabilities, it is said to showcase some of the best practices across the globe in tyre manufacturing. A highly automated plant that uses IT-driven systems and robotics, it employs young and skilled associates, mostly hired locally.
Kanwar said: “With this inauguration of our Hungary greenfield facility, we have crossed another milestone in our global growth journey. This facility will help us further increase our presence and market share in Europe. From being a replacement market focused company in Europe, we would soon start supplies of our tyres to all the leading OEs in Europe.”
Built over 72 hectares, construction began in April 2015. The company invested Euro 475 million in this facility. The final capacity at the end of Phase I would be 5.5 million passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tyres and 675,000 commercial vehicle tyres. This facility would complement Apollo Tyres’ existing facility in the Netherlands and produce the Apollo and Vredestein brand of tyres for the European market.
The inauguration also marks 40 years for the company in the business of manufacturing and selling tyres. India’s leading tyre manufacturer started in the mid-70s as a single plant in the rubber producing state of Kerala in India. Started with making truck tyres, it became the market leader in the segment and subsequently entered other product segments. The company ventured into passenger vehicle tyres relatively recently (in 2000s), but quickly became the largest producer of these tyres in India; similarly, it entered the truck-bus radial segment around 2006 and already has the largest capacity in this segment.
Its ‘history of firsts’ include being the first Indian tyre major to make an international acquisition in 2006, followed by a second one in 2009. It was also the first to start selling India-made products in the European market, considered the most advanced automotive market. Apollo Tyres is now poised to be a major force in key international markets on the back of its significant investments in R&D and manufacturing, supported by its brand building activities.