Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre maker, is embarking on a new India retail strategy similar to developed markets like the European Union, United States and Japan, hoping to break into a market in which entrenched leaders pose formidable competition.
Chennai-based MRF is the nation’s largest tyre company, followed by Apollo Tyres. They are followed by JK Tyres and Ceat. They collectively control 70 per cent of the market.
Bridgestone plans to attack high-value niche segments. It is setting up a chain of company-owned “Super Select” showrooms as part of its expansion plans in India. They would provide services such as nitrogen inflation and 3D alignment, used only in high-end tyres and vehicles in high-end vehicles.
Bridgestone says it plans to expand its “Select” branded showrooms to 200 around the country by 2011 from the current 140. The showrooms are being set up as the company ramps up its investments in the country. It has already invested Rs 259- crore to expand its plant in Madhya Pradesh.
Bridgestone only makes car tyres in India, though it otherwise makes specialty tyres such as those used in mining trucks and super heavy trailers. “Our plans will help us increase our reach across India and connecting with our consumer,” said H. Tanigawa, MD, Bridgestone India, in an emailed statement.