Syed Shiraz talks to Maxxis Tyres India to bring to you the Indian tyre industry insights and also whether your next tyre choice should be a Maxxis or not…
Ever since Indian motorists started looking at their vehicles as more than just means of transport, they began taking the otherwise perennially ignored vehicle components – tyres – seriously. Gone are the days when you’ll find someone contemplating “retreading” their bald tyres or even going in for used tyres from scrap markets. While the value-for-money proposition obviously still forms one of the top-most priorities, consumers now are not shying away from spending more for a quality product. Increased safety awareness, and how tyres play a crucial role in it, has been a major factor as well.
All of that, however, also means that the tyre consumer in India is not an easy one to please. We talk to Mr. Bing-Lin Wu, Marketing Head, Maxxis India, to help you understand tyres and the tyre market in India better, and, most importantly—whether you should be considering their tyres over others for your vehicle next, and why?
Shiraz: What makes Maxxis better than other tyres? What is your USP?
Mr. Wu: Maxxis produces the highest quality products with an increasing focus on safety and hence our products are developed from a combination of superior raw material and world-class technology.
Maxxis stands for being the most preferred tyre for the next generation with a strong customer-first approach. We have utmost confidence in the quality of all our products and hence are offering the best schemes and transparent claim resolution to our customers, including the industry-best 5+1 years’ unconditional warranty with Maxxis 2-wheeler tyres.
We want to offer our customers a seamless and easy replacement service which no other brand is offering right now. Our idea is to build customer trust and hence, we provide a hassle free ‘no questions asked’ replacement covering both manufacturing and non-manufacturing defects that cause the tyres to become unserviceable. This warranty is valid for five years from the date of manufacture.
Shiraz: Your website lists two-wheeler tyres, but why aren’t four-wheeler tyres listed?
Mr. Wu: Maxxis is currently an OEM tyre supplier to some of the mainstream two-wheeler manufacturers like Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India Limited, Yamaha Motor India and Suzuki Motorcycles apart from some four-wheeler majors like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, and Jeep in India.
While entering India, we conducted a feasibility study and found out that the prospects in the two-wheeler market were great. We are one of the fastest-growing tyre companies in India with a long-term vision to achieve a 15% market share by 2026 and set up 5 manufacturing plants. Currently, we have used half of the land (106 acres) we got from the Gujarat government for the planned 60,000 units’ capacity.
Owing to Covid-19 pandemic, we are carefully evaluating the situation this year and will take appropriate steps to realise our future, in the time to come.
Our target for 2025 expectations from India is pinned on both two and four-wheeler tyres segment. We do have plans to produce 4- wheeler tyres in India. We are evaluating the market condition and will firm up our plans as per situation unfolds.
Shiraz: Are you not making MT tyres anymore (for 4X4s)? Why not, especially when offroading as a sport is getting a lot of “traction” nowadays? Do you plan to start making them soon?
Mr. Wu: Maxxis is a globally renowned brand for off-roaders both in two-wheeler and four-wheeler segment. In India, while we import performance tyres for the 4 wheelers and manufacture off-roading tyres for the two-wheeler segment. We will be introducing off-road portfolio by mid this year.
We offer many such products from our portfolio to Indian customers. One such is the M6304, which is designed for serious off-roaders. Its large tread blocks with deep grooves give more stability, better water channelling and outstanding durability.
Shiraz: Why do we not see too many Maxxis outlets or promotional events?
Mr. Wu: We opened an exclusive retail store in Goa in the 4th quarter of 2019. This is Maxxis Tyres’ first flagship store in India. This store is our step forward in providing our highest quality tyres in India with a strong customer first approach. We want to offer our customers a seamless and hassle-free experience.
Internationally we sponsor numerous series and events, promoting the growth of cycling, motorcycle racing, ATV racing, and automotive racing on and off the tracks. Maxxis Tyres time and again has proved its mettle in the most adventurous and deadliest rallies of the world. Since 2013, Maxxis Tyres has been a sponsor in Dakar Rally and became the lead sponsor and tyre provider to the Dutch team led by Tim Coronel in the 42nd edition of Dakar Rally 2020.
In India we started a very unique initiative ‘Women in Front’, which aims to empower and encourage Indian women to experience the freedom of riding and challenge gender stereotypes. As a company with a strong biking DNA, we believe that superior performance and safety go hand-in-hand. Through this initiative, we provided women with relevant training and safety practices that will help them take the front seat and pave their own journey without any fear or hesitation. In 2021, we will be evaluating the post-pandemic situation. We are looking for some great opportunities to invest into this year.
Shiraz: As compared to other markets, what are the challenges in the Indian tyre market? Please mention the advantages as well.
Mr. Wu: The need for mobility is immense in India, and the country is amongst the fastest developing economies in the world. Around 17.7 million two-wheelers were sold in India in 2017 and it is further expected to increase considerably. In India, we feel that the future demand will come from the commuter segment bikes with 150-200cc as young bike enthusiasts and professionals prefer to ride a 200cc bike that gives great performance and mileage.
We are closely monitoring the India market and steadily coming up with solutions that India wants. With our extensive product portfolio, we are already catering to users of all segments from across age groups, globally. From electric scooters in East Asia to supersport bikes in Europe, Maxxis tyres have become the preferred choice for the users. With our technological prowess and already established global portfolio, we have the desired wherewithal to meet the demand of our customers in India.
Shiraz: In terms of numbers, how big is the tyre market in India, and where does it stand globally?
Mr. Wu: Currently, India is undergoing a metamorphosis and the need for mobility is big. The tyre market for OE is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.48% from 2016 to 2021 and will reach a market size of Rs. 2,074-2,423 billion by 2026. These indicators show huge scope for OEM’s to capitalise on the opportunity and hence our aim is to fortify India market and capture a market share of at least 15% of India’s two-wheeler tyre market within 5 years.
Shiraz: Could you throw some light on Maxxis plans for India, both short term and long term?
Mr. Wu: We are one of the fastest-growing tyre companies in India with a long-term vision to achieve a 15% market share by 2026 and set up 5 manufacturing plants. Currently, we have used half of the land (106 acres) we got from the Gujarat government for the planned 60,000 units’ capacity. Owing to Covid-19 pandemic, we are carefully evaluating the situation this year and will take appropriate steps to realise our future plans, in the time to come.