Friday 26 May 2017 News Updated at 03:05 AM IST
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'Bridgestone positive about India's economic revitalisation' - Deccan Herald
'Bridgestone positive about India's economic revitalisation'
DH News Service,
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Kazutoshi Oyama, Bridgestone India Executive Director (Sales and Marketing)
The Indian tyre industry has grown at an 8% CAGR between FY2011 and FY16, with the last fiscal witnessing an industry turnover stood of Rs 53,000 crore.

With a booming automobile industry in place, India’s tyre sector would continue to grow in line with the former’s growth, supported by a broad based revival in OE demand and economic activity driving urban purchases.

It is in this light that Bridgestone, synonymous with offering 'ground-breaking’ tyres to the world of motorsports, has emerged as a major supplier to reputed auto OEMs in the country in a span of over 20 years.

Bridgestone India started operations in 1996, and subsequently set up of manufacturing facilities in Kheda, Madhya Pradesh, and Chakan, near Pune. Tracing the steps of the company’s success in India, Bridgestone India Executive Director (Sales and Marketing) Kazutoshi Oyama shares its strategy and vision with DH’s Hrithik Kiran Bagade in an interview, along with industry trends.

Excerpts:


How do you view the Indian automotive sector, especially in the perspective of the tyre industry?

Increasing demand in the automobile sector has a direct impact on the increase in demand for tyres in India. The Indian tyre industry is an amalgamation of global as well as domestic players in the tyre industry. They are investing and expanding in India which has added to healthy competition in the market. Quality and consumer satisfaction will play a key role to sustain in the ever-challenging Indian market.


What are the current trends of the Indian tyre market and what are driving them?

The tyre industry is currently in the recovery phase after the recent demonetisation. With the replacement and OE market improving, we anticipate the overall improvement in the industry. High growth in GDP is projected, and this would benefit the automobile and ancillary industries. Also, acceleration in automobile sales and demand in the replacement market will help in improving the challenging scenario of the industry.


Bridgestone has become one of the major suppliers to almost all the reputed OEMs in India. Could you elaborate?

Bridgestone India is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s leading tyre and rubber company. In more than 20 years, we have become one of the major suppliers to most of the reputed OEM companies in India. Bridgestone’s state-of-the-art technology for the development of quality tyres exemplifies why we are one of the preferred OEM suppliers.

Meanwhile, we have approximately 3,500 dealerships in India with more than 600 family channel stores in urban, as well as rural areas which cater to our vast customer base. Bridgestone India’s product range caters to the passenger car tyre segment, truck and bus tyre segment, off-the-road tyre segment and two-wheeler tyres.


Can Bridgestone be called a premium tyre brand, or do you also cater to mid- and lower segments of the auto market?

Bridgestone is a global premium tyre brand with a strong presence in every tyre segment. Our product portfolio also caters to the demands of varied customers and we are committed to reach out to our customers with quality tyres and services.


How important is the Indian market for Bridgestone, against your other global markets?

India’s automobile sector is one of the fastest and largest growing globally. This supported by the growth in the economy makes India a significant market for Bridgestone. We have strategically introduced varied products to cater to larger Indian audience. In 2015, we introduced 'Ecopia’ which is our fuel-efficient, environmental friendly tyre which helps improve fuel efficiency by 7%.

'Firestone’ was our biggest launch of 2016 wherein we introduced FR500 for the passenger car tyre segment, and LE02 for the SUV car tyre segment for value-seeking customers. We launched 'Potenza’ S001 and 'Turanza’ T001 which are Bridgestone’s flagship tyres targeted at premium car owners, while the 'Neurun’ announced Bridgestone India’s entry into the two-wheeler tyre segment targeting the masses.


What are Bridgestone’s future plans for the Indian market?

We at Bridgestone follow our corporate mission of 'Serving Society with Superior Quality’, which has been our guiding principle for the growth of our business. 2017 looks promising for us and we are committed to supply quality products in all tyre segments staying true to our corporate philosophy. We are positive about India’s economic revitalisation post demonetisation and subsequent increase in the tyre demand.
Customer satisfaction is of prime importance to our business function. We will look at expanding our dealer network covering rural and urban cities across the country.

Bridgestone has been signed on as an official Worldwide TOP Partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for 10 years. This partnership showcases Bridgestone’s commitment to community service, social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity - all tenets of the Olympic Charter which also lies at the heart of the Bridgestone brand.
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