ATLANTA—It appears Vredestein won't be the only brand that Apollo Tyres Ltd. will be rolling out in North America.
According to Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and managing director of Apollo, the Indian tire maker also plans to market Apollo-branded passenger and truck tires in North America.
According to Kanwar, once Apollo firmly establishes Vredestein as its premium, Tier 1 passenger tire product, it will look to bring along the Apollo brand in both segments.
The company plans to establish Apollo-branded truck tires as the tire maker's premium commercial segment brand in North America.
"That's how we have really segmented the market with the brands in our mind," he said.
Meanwhile, the Apollo brand will be marketed as a Tier 2 passenger product in the U.S., just as it is in Europe.
"Vredestein is the priority," Kanwar said. "Then comes Apollo. We are still making a blueprint to see how and when we can get Apollo brand passenger car tires into the U.S. market."
Abhishek Bisht, assistant vice president for the Americas, said his North American team is studying the situation and hopes to be able to respond quickly to changing market conditions.
"We are watching it keenly," he said, "and there's a clear uptick in the dealer interest both for Vredestein and the Apollo brands."
Antidumping and countervailing duties levied since 2015 on passenger and light truck tires manufactured in China, as well as possible duties being considered by the International Trade Commission on P/LT tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, present more of an opportunity not only for Vredestein, Kanwar said, but also for Apollo-branded radial truck tires.
"It really opens up a huge opportunity for us into the U.S. market, and that's what we are looking at," Kanwar said. "But we are in no rush. Like I told the team, I want to take small steps. I want to get the product right. And the product is right."
Kanwar said that North American-specific, Apollo-branded radial truck tires already are being tested.
"We've made huge investments in (research and development) and molds and products, and we are ready," Kanwar said. "Even in truck tires, I'm told, the results that are coming out are very, very impressive. Very soon they'll also be launching Apollo radial truck tires in the U.S."