Banking on infra development to scale up India biz: Michelin
French tyre major Michelin is pinning hopes on infrastructure development in India to further scale up its business in the country, according to a top company official.
French tyre major Michelin is pinning hopes on infrastructure development in India to further scale up its business in the country, according to a top company official. The company, which manufactures truck and bus radials in its plant in Chennai, might also look at other segments including production of passenger vehicle tyres from the facility, depending on how India's infrastructure develops. "For us, the trigger in terms of opportunity is when the infrastructure will be built," Michelin Group CEO Florent Menegaux told PTI on the sidelines of Movin'On Summit here.
He was responding to a query whether the company would look at production of passenger vehicle tyres from Chennai plant. Currently, the company imports such tyres from its various facilities across the globe. Menegaux said although Indian market is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, infrastructure is not yet sufficiently developed to allow increasing vehicle penetration. "Our estimate is that current vehicle penetration rate in India is very low as compared to other countries. In the US, it is 800 vehicles for 1,000 people but in india it is 30 or 40 per thousand inhabitants," he added.
However, bullish over the fast pace of infrastructure development over the last few years in India, he added that the government there is breaking regional barriers for flow of goods, and the rate of road construction is increasing as well. "The current government is very much committed to developing infrastructure and therefore we are very confident that India, like China, will develop its market very rapidly...Therefore, natural development of mobility will happen and market will develop nicely," he said.
In 2009, Michelin Group and Tamil Nadu government signed a pact for the company's tyre manufacturing plant in Chennai, which is now spread over 250 acres. The company rolls out nearly 30,000 tonnes of truck and bus radials per annum from the plant. At Movin'On Summit here, Michelin along with General Motors unveiled an airless tyre prototype for passenger vehicles which could hit the markets as soon as 2024. The Uptis Prototype is airless and thus eliminates the risk of flat tyres and blowouts.
The companies have started testing the tyre beginning with vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Later this year, the companies will initiate real-world testing of Uptis on a test fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan.