An automobile comprises more than a thousand running components so as to perform flawlessly. While every component contributes in the working of an automobile in its own right, there are certain constituents which are more important than others. One such component that belongs to the former category is the tyre in an automobile. Think about it; if you can’t put a vehicle’s power down in an effective way, what is it good for? Or what’s the worth of those thousand-odd components for that matter?
Since pneumatic tyres form the backbone of a majority of private and commercial vehicles around the whole world, manufacturing one requires a series of complex and carefully thought out processes. To understand more about how a ‘normal’ tyre is manufactured, we had been invited to one of the most technologically advanced tyre manufacturing units in the country. The facility we talk about here belongs to Apollo tyres and is located at Orgadam in Chennai.
Before we move on and talk about the intriguing and complex manufacturing process that goes behind building a tyre, lets get acquainted to Apollo tyres first. Apollo is a homegrown tyre manufacturer which was established in 1972. Its first manufacturing unit came into action in 1976 at Perambra in Kerala. Over the last three decades, however, the firm has grown immensely in size as it currently has a strong presence in over 100 countries with manufacturing facilities across 3 continents- Asia (India), Africa (South Africa) and Europe (The Netherlands). Apollo in India currently holds the no.1 spot in commercial vehicle segment tyre sales, and stays at a strong third spot with 17 per cent market share (radial tyres) in the passenger vehicles segment.
Apollo’s main brands comprise Apollo and Vredestein (acquired in 2009). While Apollo caters to passenger cars and commercial vehicles across different segments, Vredestein’s range of tyres are best suited for high-end luxury and performance vehicles. Apollo launched the premium Vredestein range in India last year. Apart from Vredestein, Apollo also owns Regal and Kaizen (truck-bus tyres), Maloya (passenger vehicles), Dura Tyres (retreaded tyres) and Dura Tread (retreading materials).
Talking about Apollo’s presence in the automobile OEM circles in India, the manufacturer is the official tyre supplier for OE manufacturers and its tyres come fitted as standard on cars such as the Volkswagen Polo, Vento; Skoda Rapid; Hyundai Elite i20, etc. The company will also be the OE supplier for the forthcoming new Toyota Innova (due for launch in late 2015 or early 2016).