Read our full interview from Apollo’s EnduMile LHT Launch below.
Joy and Pouliquen Comment on Apollo’s Truck Tyre Approach
Commercial Tyre Business
Perhaps we can start by talking about your strategy for connecting with your fleet customers.
Unlike some of our competitors we don’t go direct to the fleets. There are very few exceptions to this, but do not wish to compete against our own customers. Their job is to service the fleet. Our job is to make sure that the tyres we produce are the best, and that the advice we give in terms of the application is the best. All tyre makers face this dilemma. You know that those fleets are large and they are capable of buying the product directly from you, but it is not just about buying the product. It is about servicing the product, and that is why we work like this. Our sales team is in charge of ensuring that our partners have access to the fleets. We monitor these ambassadors with regards to their performance. When there is a claim, and we see the ratio is very low, we deal with it right on the spot. This is what the users are asking for.
John Nikhil Joy
One more point to add is that these ambassadors – distributors or retailers – are the ones having 360 degree solutions for their end users. We as a manufacturer try to make sure that they are comfortable doing business with us because they are providing these services at the best possible level for their clients. We make sure that our network of ambassadors is connected well, and we use our ambassadors to service the end user. The benefits of that are that the ambassador is happy that we are giving them more business, but the end user has a more feasible price.
We understand you are in the process of developing a TPMS system. Tell us something about this.
Yes, a TPMS system is in preparation and being tested out. It is something that will be launched globally as well. We have an advanced engineering team based out of India, which for the last 3 to 4 years has carried out a lot of work mostly on RFID, TPMS, and also the collection of data. One of the things that we found out which is similar to fleet monitoring systems, is that you have a lot of applications, but the combination of good hardware and software is tough. So, now we have developed software in-house that is being tested, and we are also looking for a partner for the hardware solution. Once we have this combination set up, in one or two years, we will have it tested in India. By 2025 we should be ready to go live.
What can you tell us about your approach to tyres for electric vehicles?
Electric trucks is again something that we are exploring. We have the tyres for city usage. In terms of development itself we are watching out for how things are moving into the market itself. There are a lot of electric cars but in trucks there are still experiments being done. For instance, you know that tyres for the city bus is the same size as the electric bus, but you will have seen in the last few years that the load index suddenly changed from 148 to 150 and then from 150 to 152, and now there are discussions that 152 is not enough with 154 being required. As you can see in our organisation, we are really trying to make sure that the focus is on the right part and making sure that we are creating the right product and that everything is coming together well.
In India, Apollo already has an active retreading programme. What are your plans in Europe?
In a similar way to the breakdown services that we have started, we are looking into retreading, but focusing on the experts in each country and partnering with them rather than us getting into the business.
What matters to us is to be able to demonstrate the value of the casing. Again, our job is to produce the best tyre possible, and then after that the job of the retreaders is to get these casings and to be able to sell them. We are partnering with them in a few countries, and that is our focus. We want to be able to make sure that our sales team can valorise first and foremost the performance, and the casing is part of that. Usually, the retreaders do their job well, so they know when a casing isn’t up to it. We have done lots of tests on our casings to prove their value. We have to discuss with them and work with them directly rather than doing something in parallel.