The radial tyres developed by Michelin reduce machine downtime, increase productivity on loaders by providing better grip and decrease fuel consumption by 5-6 per cent on an average. One can easily imagine what can be the impact on the fuel bill for large fleets, says Harkesh Jaggi, Commercial Director Earthmover and Industrial Tyres, Michelin India. Excerpts of the interview.
What is the market size for radials? Also tell us about the demand-supply scenario.
The OTR tyre market size is difficult to estimate as it covers all kinds of machines, tyre sizes and applications. Most of this market can be addressed by radial tyres. Even though radials represent a small share of the market, we are confident that it will grow because of the technological superiority it enjoys over bias. Currently, the OTR radial tyres are primarily imported. In the big tyre sizes (mining, etc), radial tyre market share is significant. However, bias continues to dominate the market for construction, quarries and smaller tyre sizes.
What are the sizes offered by Michelin in OTR and radials?
Michelin range covers all OTR segments through 95 sizes from small industrial tyres (forklift) up to 63 tyres for giant dump trucks. Michelin offers 100 per cent radials as this technology is unmatched and has proven benefits. Thanks to its seven industrial facilities globally for OTR.
What are your R&D activities in rubber compounds/chemicals and processes?
Michelin has built its leadership on innovation over the last 125 years. Almost 70 years ago, the company invented the radial tyre. As a leading multinational tyre manufacturer, Michelin has dedicated and invested large capitals on R&D in order to come up with the most innovative tyre technologies providing sustainable and safe mobility for its customers worldwide. In OTR applications, it clearly means an ultra-segmented offer by adapting the tyre compounds, patterns and tyre architecture to different usage conditions. To ensure this offer is properly deployed to match each user specificities, Michelin's sales force and dealers carry out detailed site surveys, study operating conditions and do machine inspections.
To what extent the prevailing slowdown has impacted the market for OTR and radials?
Though the impact of slowdown was felt in some circles of the industry, it threw up two opposite yet interesting perspectives on the demand for radial tyres in India. On one hand, we witnessed some end-users continue to buy bias tyres owing to fund crunch and cash to minimise their immediate expenses. On the other hand, a lot of end-users have taken this opportunity to revise their approach regarding tyre purchase and optimise their overall operating cost by shifting to radial tyres.
In terms of aftermarket support, what differentiates you from other peers in the same business?
The key differentiation for Michelin is based on our premium radial technology as compared to other players in India who are still focused on bias tyres. Our differentiator relies on both, quality of radial as well as on all the services and support we bring to our customers, either through our own sales and technical experts or through our long term partners. Our technical service-cum-professional advice approach, works towards an overall operational cost reduction programme for our customers to create a win-win situation.