Apollo Tyres launched its premium European brand Vredestein.
Apollo Tyres today launched its premium European brand Vredestein to cater to high-end cars and SUVs in India.
The company, which acquired the brand when it bought the Netherlands-based firm in 2009, said it will initially manufacture Vredestein tyres in Holland, but may consider production in India in the future.
"The new range will target high-end cars in the country, it will complement our existing brands. We are targeting a monthly sales of a round 5,000 tyres to start off in the after-market replacement segment," Apollo Tyres' Chief India Operations Satish Sharma told reporters here.
The total size of passenger car tyres in the after-market segment in India is around 14 lakh units per month, of which 70,000 is the premium car segment, he added.
When asked if Vredestein tyres will be produced in India, Sharma said: "The tyres will be manufactured at Holland facility. Eventually, we may look at manufacturing them in India. As part of our strategy, we would like to present the tyre as an European brand to start with."
Vredestien has a production capacity of around 7 million tyres per annum at its plant in Holland.
Commenting on the marketing strategy, Sharma said: "We are looking at select business partners very carefully. We will launch the brand in 23 cities initially."
Vredestein tyres will be distributed through a set of partners mostly in the tier I and tier II cities. These premium tyres would be sold through multi-branded outlets, including existing Apollo Zones, the company said.
The broad strategy is to have multi-brand showrooms. Stand-alone Vredestein showrooms would be a far fetched reality, Sharma added, when asked if Vredestein tyres would be sold through stand-alone exclusive outlets.
"The new brand will have tyres from 16 inch to 20 inch. For pricing it would depend upon SKUs but would be benchmarked in the same set as Pirelli or Michelin," Sharma said.
Commenting on the introduction of Vredestein brand into India, Apollo Tyres Chairman Onkar S Kanwar said: "India has been and will continue to be a very important market for us. India will benefit immensely from the globalisation efforts of the company."
Sharma said the company's overseas business contributes around 35 per cent to its consolidated revenues. In 2012, revenues stood at USD 2.34 billion. India is the biggest market for Apollo, followed by Germany.
Meanwhile, the legal battle over Cooper Tire & Rubber has put banks in the spotlight. Emails shown in court reveal lenders to Apollo Tyres have been looking for a way out of the debt-financed takeover of its U.S. rival and pressured the Indian company to renegotiate the $2.3 billion deal. Banks appear keen to limit their exposure while avoiding blame for pulling the plug.