GENEVA (March 8, 2012)—India's Apollo Tyres Ltd. is reviving plans to build a tire plant in Eastern Europe, according to Vice Chairman Neeraj Kanwar, who disclosed the plan prior to the opening of the Geneva International Auto Show.
Kanwar said Apollo wants to begin making tires within five years either in Poland, Hungary or Slovak Republic with an investment of around $135 million.
The announcement revives plans Apollo disclosed in early 2008 to build a passenger tire plant in Hungary. The company's attention shifted later that year to sites in Slovak Republic, but in the end, Apollo opted to expand capacity at the Enschede, Netherlands, plant of its Apollo Vredestein B.V. subsidiary and use capacity at its larger plants in India to serve EU demand.
Kanwar said the decision for the 900-employee factory will be based on three main factors:
— the stability of the government because the company wants to avoid a repeat of the political turmoil that foiled its bid to open a plant in Hungary in 2008;
— the proximity to a port; and
— the availability of talent, such as tire engineers and people with experience working for a tire maker.
Gurgaon, India-based Apollo is exhibiting at the Geneva show, where it is launching an Apollo-brand ultra-high-performance summer passenger vehicle tire, in W and Y speed ratings.