Michelin opens new line; to double capacity next year
Story by: Bhargav TS
Michelin, the French automotive tyre major, will double production capacity at its Indian facility by 2018. The tyre maker has inaugurated a new production line at the Chennai plant recently to manufacture its new truck and bus radial (TBR) tyre range ‘X Guard’, which has been exclusively designed, engineered and made for India. The X Guard promises 10% more fuel efficiency than the tyres in that category. Michelin has signed up with Ashok Leyland for the supply of its new X Guard range for its Captain range of trucks and other medium commercial vehicles.
“Currently we are running at full capacity and to meet the growing demand we need additional capacity. Therefore, we will be doubling our capacity from the current 15,000 tonne a year. The capacity expansion will be completed by the end of 2018 and it will generate 150 new direct jobs,” Jean-Dominique Senard, Chief Executive Officer of Michelin Group, said. “India is a priority market for us and rising demand for our products in the country reaffirms our commitment to keep innovating for our customers. In a very short time, our Chennai plant has evolved to become one of our most advanced manufacturing facilities globally,” he said.
For Michelin, Ashok Leyland is the second OEM tie-up in the commercial vehicle segment after Volvo. Michelin sells most of its TBRs in the replacement market. The industry defining
performance of this tyre range is expected to enable Ashok Leyland to pass benefits of fuel efficiency and optimised payload to its customers. Ashok Leyland is using Michelin radial tyres for the latest range of 37T truck as they provide tremendous fuel efficiency and help Ashok Leyland to differentiate its products in the Industry. In the bus segment Michelin has a strong OEM presence. It is the 100% supplier in the inter-city coach segment and supplies its tyres to buses like Volvo, Scania and MAN.
Serge Lafon, Executive VicePresident, Truck Product Line, Michelin Group, said, “X Guard is meant for customers who look for affordable, long-lasting and more fuel-efficient truck tyres. For slightly premium categories, Michelin offers X Multi, the tubeless truck radial range.”
The Michelin X Guard was conceived to address the Indian market need for a tyre that is fuel efficient, safe and long-lasting. The company has adopted the best of Michelin technologies to produce a premium tyre at an affordable price. The X Guard range takes advantage of the latest developments in 3D printing, which is used to produce the tyre moulds.
As a result, Regenion technology is integrated, which regenerates new grooves as the tyre wears, ensuring it retains excellent grip. The performance of this tyre also benefits from another technologyInfiniCoil, a several hundredmeter-long thin wire wrapped round the tyre structure giving it added robustness without extra weight, while delivering up to 10% fuel savings which is exclusively designed, engineered and made for India. It is available at low cost for the consumers.
Senard said, “We believe that mobility is essential for human development. The need for sustainable mobility should grow in India. I believe there is a tremendous potential for mobility here in India and that is the reason we are here. Till date we have invested Rs3,500 crore in building the factory and in an R&D centre to serve Indian and global requirements. The key criterion of the company is to promote long lasting tyres which differentiate us from other companies. We put the customer at the centre of our work which helps us to grow tremendously.”
Michelin India R&D centre focuses on TBR development and provides technical support to the company’s manufacturing facilities in Chennai, China and Thailand. The 3800-squaremeter materials test laboratory at Manesar is an essential resource, providing support to the company Technology Centre in Gurgaon.
Mohan Kumar, Executive Vice President, Michelin India, said, “Currently, only 70% of the products sold in India are produced from our Chennai factory. In 2 years, we plan to produce 100% of our domestic market requirements. To increase the brand presence, we are now focusing on digital space as well. At present we have around 5,000 outlets and the expenditure on building the brand equity has increased.
Michelin also sells two-wheeler tyres in India, which are manufactured by TVS Srichakra. To tap the growing demand of the two-wheeler market in India, Michelin has joined hands with TVS Srichakara. The tyres are produced by TVS Srichakra, but the design and the materials are provided by Michelin and sold under its brand. Michelin’s twowheeler tyre ranges for scooters and motorcycles of up to 150cc.
About the electrification of vehicles Senard said, “EVs should be valued and encouraged in India as it contributes in a major level to the country’s economic growth. Technology in India should be valued. The development in technology will create technological future for Michelin.”
Alexandre Ziegler, Amabassador of France to India and JeanDominique Senard, CEO, Michelin Group inaugurated the Michelin X Guard line at thier Chennai plant
Mohan Kumar, Executive Vice President, Michelin India, Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO, Michelin Group and Serge Lafon, Executive VicePresident, Truck Product Line, Michelin Group.