Mary has over 20 years experience as the editor of our Malaysian sister magazine, The Tyreman. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she writes articles for us on the Malaysian and other South East Asian markets.
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Under the leadership of General Manager Victor Siew, Apollo Tyres Malaysia has been making steady progress in market recognition.
It has been about 7 years now since Apollo Tyres made inroads into the Malaysian market. The setting up of their office in Malaysia, in 2016 has reflected the company’s ambitious expanding of their global footprint, as well as gunning for a bigger share of the Malaysian replacement tyre market for both passenger car and commercial vehicle segment.
Under the leadership of General Manager Victor Siew, Apollo Tyres Malaysia has been making steady progress in branding awareness, market recognition and dealer network expansion within the country.
“We would like to thank our business partners for their loyalty and on-going support, the efforts of our sales and service personnel as well as support staff. The impact of cultural differences is often underestimated in multinational corporations. Cultural differences can be challenging, which can lead to misunderstandings between employees and management, as well as between the company and its business partners and customers. We are blessed as Apollo Tyres’ top management believes in thorough understanding and respect of local culture, which is crucial for international market success. Thus, they are very open, flexible and supportive towards our local branding and marketing strategies,” said Siew.
The majority of the companies make dealers their partners, but Apollo Tyres Malaysia takes it to the next level. Dealers to them are not just a business partner, but also a family member. “We are celebrating our oneness through building trusting relations, respect for diversity and passion towards common goals through living up to ‘One Family’, one of our corporate values. In the last two years, we have organised a series of events and activities, as well as trainings and conferences. We make sure there is a good balance between fostering a closer relationship with our ‘family members’ and equipping them with relevant product knowledge and skills that would help to grow their business.”
In its pursuit of becoming one of the leading brands in the Malaysian market, Apollo Tyres Malaysia have continued their significant investment in brand-building activities.
The introduction of the dual branded Apollo-Manchester United tyre range in 2018 remains one of the hot topics amongst the die-hard MU fans in Malaysia and the region. “Football is a popular sport in Malaysia, and we received quite a good response from the range. Apart from the quieter drive element and superior handling on dry and wet surfaces experience, the drivers were totally thrilled that they got to show off the MU logo on their sidewall. It gave us a lot of brand exposure, and we benefited from the endorsement provided by MU.”
Following the success of Meet & Greet sessions with the MU Legends, Dwight Yorke in 2017, Wes Brown in 2018 and the legendary MU defender, David May last year, the company has also taken up the jersey sponsorship of United Malaysia Football Club in Sabah. According to him, the sponsorship has helped to boost the confidence of local youths who were participating in the Borneo Cup 2019.
Group Manager Sales Lau Den Nee added that they always strive to personalise every event in creative ways to make it memorable. With a quick look back on some highlights from last year, one could see that all these events speak for themselves. Last June 2019, more than 200 people including business partners and representatives from Apollo Tyres nationwide and ASEAN region gathered in Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, at the heart of KLCC Twin Towers for the finest dining experience available. This was followed by a convention the following day, where Apollo Tyres shared its vision and plans with their business partners in Malaysia.
“We also organised a one-to-one exclusive session for our business partners to ‘Meet and Greet’ Manchester United Legend, David May, which was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them. To surprise our business partners and fans further was a chance to celebrate May’s birthday and we wished him a ‘happy birthday’ in person.”
Last August, 2019, the company also co-hosted a Merdeka Celebration Night with Coltrac Sdn Bhd at Yes Sir Bistro & Bar, Desa Sri Hartamas. More than 50 end-users attended to celebrate the country’s 62nd annual independence day and listen to Apollo’s product updates and testimonials from their loyal Apollo Tyres fleets.
Another two events that round up the company’s last calendar year, he said, were the Apollo PCR Product Launch with Long March Tyres Sdn Bhd and its sub-dealers at the iconic The Top, Komtar in Georgetown, Penang and a full Malay theme dealer appreciation night dinner co-organised with Hiap Hoe Loon Tai Sdn Bhd at the IDCC Ideal Convention Centre, Shah Alam.
He pointed out that besides the above-mentioned events that took place in Peninsular Malaysia, Apollo Malaysia has been very aggressive in expanding its footprint to East Malaysia. “Together with our business partner, KNY Tyres Sdn Bhd, we took part in the International Auto Modified (IAM) exhibition on September last year. Held in Sabah Trade Centre, the exhibition helped us to reach out to the local car enthusiast and build brand awareness.”
Meanwhile, he said, various training sessions were co-organised with their respective business partners in Sabah, including one TBR training and two PCR training sessions. The Kai Shen Marketing and SF Tyre & Battery Apollo Tyres TBR training also in September, 2019 at the Promenade Hotel, Kota Kinabalu. In addition, two PCR training sessions were conducted with HL Tyres & Batteries Sdn Bhd Apollo Tyres PCR Training (October 2019), also at the Promenade Hotel, and the Sabah Tire Service Centre Apollo Tyres PCR Training (November 2019) at the Sabah Hotel, Sandakan.
“Branding and marketing are important for us, as they help us to maintain our engagement with customers. They set us apart from our competitors and promote recognition. We shall continue to invest in branding and marketing despite market uncertainty,” he commented.
All set for the new normal, Siew revealed that the company adapted quickly to ensure it recovered from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “There are no pay cuts in Apollo Malaysia as we try to preserve employees as much as possible. Early this year, in line with our plan to set up a fleet team, we have sent more than 3 new employees to Thailand for training. They are now back and ready to serve and support our business partners in the commercial vehicle segment, for instance improving their fleet customers’ know-how in terms of being able to properly maintain their tyres. One of the positive impacts of the pandemic is the rise of digital interaction for marketing communication, which we have a degree of leverage already with our PCR tyres 1 year Unconditional Warranty program.”
Looking at the current market situation, he said, maintaining market share is a winning strategy. “With Covid-19 changing the way we live, people and businesses are looking for ways to adapt to a new normal. We cannot do what we used to do before, and our Chairman Onkar Kanwar has come out with a strategy - DRIVE. Discover new sales opportunities, Re-engineer the Apollo brand, Inventory and production optimisation, (focus on the) Value of cash and Eliminate the costs, which will also be our strategy for the Malaysian market.”
To help their business partners to weather the impact of Covid-19, Lau said, Apollo Tyres Malaysia has rolled out a loyalty programme. “As we treat our business partners as family members, we are open, direct and honest with them in our communication, just like how we communicate with our family members. We share their gain and pain. We are always available to listen to them, offer our support and help during these tough times.”
In terms of products, Siew said, they launched EnduRace RA HD radial truck tyres for the general cargo segment in June last year. Suitable for all wheel positions, he said, the 295/80R 22.5 tyre has received a good response from the market. “Many praise the tyre for its enhanced durability, low noise, uniform wear and better cornering.”
Another recent addition is the new Apollo Apterra AT2, he said, it is Apollo’s first high performance all-terrain model for the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. “The SUV segment in Malaysia is growing. This new tyre that was designed with the ability to conquer the tarmac, track and trails comes at the right time, and we are confident that it would definitely meet the demand for quality and dependable SUV tyres.”
在成功举办了一系列曼联传奇球员见面会，包括2017年的约克（Dwight Yorke）、2018年的韦斯●布朗（Wes Brown） ，以及去年的后卫大卫● 梅（David May）后， 该公司接着赞助沙巴United Malaysia足球俱乐部的球衣。据他表示，此赞助有助于提高参与2019年婆罗州杯本地年轻球员的信心。
“我们还特别为我们的商业伙伴主办了一场千载难逢，与曼联传奇球员大卫● 梅的一对一的独家见面会。更让我们的商业伙伴和球迷惊喜的是有机会为大卫● 梅庆生和亲口对他说生日快乐。”
2019年8月，该公司与可达轮胎有限公司联手于Desa Sri Hartamas 的Yes Sir Bistro & Bar设宴庆祝国庆。当晚，有超过50名终端用户出席，一同欢庆马来西亚独立62年，同时聆听阿波罗轮胎的产品更新和阿波罗轮胎车队用户的见证。
另外，他说该公司与Long March轮胎私人有限公司和其子代理在槟城的地标，也就是位于乔治市Komtar的 The Top一起主办轿车子午胎产品推介会，还有与协和轮胎私人有限公司在沙亚南IDCC Ideal会议中心主办充满马来色彩的代理感恩之夜。这两个活动为2019年画下了完美句点。
与此同时，他说，他们还分别与沙巴的商业伙伴联手主办各种培训，包括一场卡车子午胎培训和两场轿车子午胎培训。Kai Shen行销和SF 轮胎及电池阿波罗轮胎卡车子午胎培训也是在去年的9月于亚庇Promenade酒店进行。另外的两场轿车子午胎培训分别为HL轮胎及电池私人有限公司阿波罗轮胎轿车子午胎培训 （2019年10月），同样在Promenade酒店，还有沙巴轮胎服务中心阿波罗轮胎轿车子午胎培训（2019年11月）在沙巴山打根的沙巴酒店举行。
他说，以目前的市场状况看来，能够维持市场份额已经是个制胜的策略。“我们无法重复我们过去做的一切，我们的总裁昂卡尔（Onkar Kanwar）提出了一个策略 -DRIVE。即是发现新的销售机会、重新设计阿波罗品牌、优化存货和生产，聚焦于现金价值与消除成本，而这也将成为我们在马来西亚市场的策略。”
在产品方面，萧俊凯表示，去年6月，他们为一般货物运输领域推出了 EnduRace RA HD 卡车子午胎。他说，这条规格为295/80R22.5 全轮位卡车胎相当受市场欢迎。“很多人都对该轮胎加强的耐磨性、低噪音、均匀的磨耗及更好的转弯性能赞不绝口。”
他说，另一个新产品是阿波罗Apterra AT2， 阿波罗的第一款全路形高性能休旅车（SUV）轮胎。“马来西亚的SUV领域正在增长。这条具有征服柏油路和乡间小路能力的新轮胎来得正合时宜，我们有信心它将满足市场对优质和可靠SUV轮胎的需求。”
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