Indian Tyre Industry
Industry was on a smooth ride till FY08. The industry tonnage production registered a 5-year Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.02% between FY03-08. The largest category of Truck & Bus (T&B) tyres recorded a 5-year CAGR of 5.90% while Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV), motorcycle and car tyre categories grew at 13.34%, 12.27% and 13.98%, respectively in this period.
However, as the economy in general; and automobile industry in specific slowed down in FY09, the tyre demand too came under pressure. In the first nine months of FY09, the industry managed a tonnage growth of only 2.19% against a growth of 7.38% in the same period last year. The tyre offtake to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) declined by 6.17% during this period. The T&B tyre category was the worst affected with the total offtake of these tyres declining by 0.01% in the first nine months. Also in the face of global slowdown and stiff Chinese competition, the export market offtake declined by 9.82% during this period.
On the face of these demand-side pressures, the tyre industry saw production adjustments from all the major players in the last couple of months. The government too tried to provide external stimulus by effecting 6% excise duty cut across industries (the excise duty for tyres was brought down from 14% to 10% w.e.f. December 7, 2008, and then further reduced to 8% w.e.f. February 25, 2009). In all the gloom; one silver lining for the industry has been the easing of the raw material prices from September 2008 onwards. However, the impact of the fall in commodity prices was not visible in the nine months results of the companies, as the companies were laden with high-price inventories. The benefits of the sublime raw material prices will become visible only in the last quarter of FY09 provided; the demand too supports the topline.
The tyre industry faces competition from China in the domestic market. Imports as a percentage of total T&B tyre production stood at 10% in FY08, with more than 90% of these imports coming from China. While the anti-dumping duty is levied on the import of Chinese T&B bias tyres, the industry now wants it to be extended to Chinese T&B radial tyres to alleviate the import threat. In addition, the industry is also keen on customs duty relief on raw materials not produced/manufactured in the country so as to compete with the Chinese tyres.
Radialisation though in its infancy in T&B tyre category; is making inroads. Most manufacturers have capex plans for radial T&B tyres with no new capacity being added for bias tyres. This indicates that the industry foresees radialisation to take further hold in the T&B tyre category. In the passenger car segment, radialisation has reached 97%; up from 95% a year ago. The Industry is also banking on the customised Off The Road (OTR) tyres and adding capacity in this category.
The Indian manufacturers are looking at increasing their global footprints. Apollo is undertaking an expansion plan at its Dunlop plant in South Africa. Similarly, JK Tyres & Industries has acquired a Mexican company Tornel. It has also entered into a manufacturing agreement with Chinese manufacturers to sell JK-branded tyres in the export markets
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