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V. Sivaramakrishnan, Chief Technology Officer, TVS EUROGRIP
Apr 26, 2020

Geared up for youthful future

By Sharad Matade

TVS Eurogrip is geared up to lead customers into the future of riding, with its range of technologically advanced and high performance tyres, says V. Sivaramakrishnan, Chief Technology Officer

V. Sivaramakrishnan has been in the corporate sector for over 25 years. Currently he is the Chief Technology Officer at TVS Srichakra Limited, Madurai. He had earlier worked with JK Tyre and Continental Tyres. He was instrumental in leading the key strategic initiatives that has propelled the business to its new heights. His ability to lead the vision and execute it impeccably has helped the organisation grow globally. He spoke to Tyre Trends on the leading two-wheeler tyre maker’s future vision

Q: Last year TVS Srichakra launched the TVS Eurogrip brand. With this launch, the company is bringing out a completely new range targeting Y-Gen. Going forward, what will be the impact the millennial customers on the Indian two-wheeler tyre industry and the company. How do you see the tyre markets for lower CC bikes/ commuting bikes?

TVS Radial tyres

A: We believe that our brand is not just a logo, but represents who we are in terms of technology, quality and performance. We are a leader in the two-wheeler tyre space. In the last three decades since our inception, our brand has retained its core values of trust and reliability. Over the years, we have continuously evolved ourselves and our offerings by listening to the voice of the customer. Our most recent and extensive research shows a further evolution of the needs of our customers. The two-wheeler tyre space is seeing the rise of the consumer who looks for technology led products which help them outperform in multiple dimensions of life. The new age rider of today wants to live every moment to the fullest, impress his peers, and go beyond the normal. As our consumers are becoming more aspirational, we have designed our products to be the partner in their journey.

The brand idea of TVS Eurogrip - Outlive, Outperform and Outdo - is based on this insight. In anticipation of this changing tide, we are geared up to lead our customers into the future of riding, with our range of technologically advanced and high performance TVS Eurogrip tyres.

We are also going to launch a range of specialist products under the TVS Eurogrip brand. These tyres are: Designed and developed, not just for the Indian market but for the global market.

Tested extensively at our unique test track in Madurai as well as test tracks in Europe, by expert test riders from India, Japan and Europe

Manufactured at our state-of-the-art factories in Madurai and Pantnagar

Lower CC bikes for commuting will continue to remain the main segment in India. Over time, youth will be the dominant consumer base in the segment as well. Thus, it is imperative to meet their aspirational needs through innovative products, at competitive prices.

Q: The 2-W tyre market is already crowded and has stiff competition. How does the company plan to be the market leader in the segment?

A: We are a specialist in the two-wheeler tyres. The technology and expertise required in two wheelers is significantly different from four wheelers. This focus has made us one of the leading manufacturers across the globe for two-wheeler tyres. With the TVS Eurogrip brand we are looking to offer next generation products to our consumers.

Over the years, TVS Srichakra Limited has been expanding its footprint and outperforming itself by adopting cutting-edge technology driven by state-of-the-art research and development with experts in India and overseas. Under the TVS Eurogrip umbrella, we are going to launch a portfolio of 19 premium tyres that include industry leading zero-degree steel belted radial tyres. These extreme performance tyres will provide unmatched stability at high speeds and are rated to run at speeds up to 270kmph.

Q: Continuous Improvement in production efficiency is something the industry is talking about. What efforts are being taken in this direction for both of your plants?

A: We are the first tyre company in India to have achieved TPM excellence for our Manufacturing processes. We continue our efforts and have embarked on TQM journey. We have established state of art manufacturing facilities with modern mixing, calendaring plant and world class Radial tyre plant. Connected and Intelligent Manufacturing Systems are the future and we are not behind in this journey. We have commenced a project to implement Industry 4.0 concepts for our existing plants.

Q: How do you distinguish OE and aftermarket? What are your strategies to expand your share in the aftermarket, where price pressure is imminent?

A:Like our OEM business we are also witnessing superior growth in the aftermarket. We have a strong 2000 dealer network spread across the country which is assisting us in expanding our domestic presence. We are working to add new dealers and channel partners to maintain our growth in the aftermarket. Deeper penetration and reach have been our biggest strength and will continue to contribute to our strategy to tap the aftermarket.

Q: In OTR tyre segment, 90% of your business comes from export. What are the new trends you see in the segment? Any plans to focus on the domestic market?

A: We currently export to over 70 countries, including Europe. Our exports are largely Off-Highway tyres and we have gained expertise in making tyres of different sizes and quantities. We are also ensuring that cost of carrying inventory for the distributors is the lowest. We continue to seek opportunities in international markets and have invested in Technology and R&D to design and develop, not just for the Indian market but for the global market. This should significantly assist us in foraying further into the international markets.

Q: Safety is a crucial factor, especially in two-wheeler tyres. What technical and material developments are happening to improve the grip of two-wheeler tyres?        

A: Our research programs are focused on maximising vehicle handling performance and tyre grip on wet and dry surface. We have developed some of the finest materials applying nano science to enhance the grip properties. We have invested in a state-of-the-artstesting facility, which includes a modern test track in Madurai, home for our R&D Centre.

We have started a Technical Cetre in Milan, Italy where experts focus on research programs of high-performance tyres for India and global markets.  A host of new patterns are under development in this centre aimed at delivering high grip performance.

Q: We may see electrification in three-wheeler segment soon. How are you preparing yourself for this as you also produce three-wheeler tyres?

A: The advent of EVs does not do away with the need for tyres. Being a 2W and 3W tyre specialist, we are geared up for any advancement that is called for as the industry evolves. 

Q: What about production capacity, utilisation rate, and export volume? What are your expansion plans?

A: We produce about 34 million tyres per annum and have made significant investments to capture market opportunities. We will continue to invest in expansion of our capacities and capabilities in line with market dynamics, latest technology and our own growth aspirations. Currently the OEM business accounts for half of company’s sales volumes with aftermarket and export market contributing the other half for the company. We want to expand our reach i.e. enter newer markets and improve our volumes from the markets where we are currently present.

ENDS

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