Ewan has been editor of Retreading Business since 2006 and of Tyre & Rubber Recycling since the magazine was founded. During this period he has become an expert on the global tyre recycling sector. He has many years' experience as an automotive journalist including a period at Tyres & Accessories.
Apollo Keeps Developing its Technology
Apollo Tyres is India’s largest tyre manufacturer and one of the fastest-growing tyre manufacturers in the market.
Apollo Keeps Pace with the Latest Developments
Apollo has long taken a comprehensive view of its operations, being involved in retreading and truckers’ welfare projects in India. Commercial Tyre Business spoke with Apollo’s Cluster Director for Europe, John Nikhil Joy, about the latest developments in the market. As with the other respondents to our questionnaire, we started with the question about the most significant trend in truck tyres in recent months.
“As with most other mobility segments, the truck sector is looking forward to a future dominated by electrification,” said Joy. “With this comes a new set of challenges for the tyre industry; at Apollo Tyres, we are looking at how the needs of operators are evolving and how we can develop new tyres to best address the specific characteristics of electric trucks and buses.”
As for the question about how fleets were driving developments, Joy had an honest answer that revolved around legislation rather than fleet demand.
Joy explained; “Both the truck and tyre industries are led by regulations, which are getting ever more stringent, year by year. Some fleet operators are resistant to these new regulations. They are worried they will suffer financial loss in the short term, regardless of potential long-term savings in operating costs. We will always strive to create tyres that exceed safety regulations but remain at a more affordable price point to help support fleet operators.”
As with all manufacturers, the biggest driver of change is the advent of electric vehicles, which is brought about mainly by legislation rather than market demand. However, the market demand is changing as it is driven by increasingly tight regulations on internal combustion engine vehicles. Did Apollo see that evidenced in the marketplace?
“In short, yes,” says Joy. “We have a new set of challenges when developing tyres for electric trucks compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. Our global R&D team is currently looking at ways to develop a tyre to suit these new requirements. We are continuously improving our existing range to become usable in this segment.”
Asked about digitisation, Joy responded that there was technology in a trial phase and that readers should “watch this space.”
For any manufacturer to compete in the European sector, they are fighting, initially against the traditional big brands and then simultaneously combatting competition from below. Hence, there is a need for a price differential at both ends of the scale whilst maintaining a quality that serious European fleets will elect to utilise. So, the final question was about the importance of preserving state-of-the-art developments and keeping that price differential realistic.
Joy concludes; “Apollo believes in testing all our products and ensuring that the tyres deliver consistent performance throughout their lifecycle. Consistency leads to trust and growth; this is key for us and can only be achieved by producing tyres with advanced materials that deliver superior performance. We will continue serving our European customers with state-of-the-art products at a competitive price.”