GURGAON, India—In spite of the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing uncertainties, Apollo Tyres Ltd. continues to pursue its strategy of becoming a premier tire company with a diversified and multinational presence.
That was the crux of the message Apollo Chairman Onkar Kanwar delivered at the company's 47th annual general meeting on Aug. 20.
"We don't know how long the uncertainties around this pandemic will continue," he said, noting that the Indian economy had been deeply impacted, including the country's automotive industry, which suffered a 14 percent contraction.
Over the last year. Apollo—the world's 15th largest tire maker with nearly $2.3 billion in annual sales—has consolidated its position in existing markets, continued to invest in its Apollo and Vredestein brands, and expanded capacity via greenfield projects, such as the opening of its seventh and eighth plants in India, for car and truck tires in Andhra Pradesh and motorcycle tires in Gujarat.
In particular, the Apollo leader described brand-building as a key goal, including positioning Vredestein "as an even more premium brand."
In Europe, he noted, Apollo has gained more OE fitments, including for majors such as Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen A.G., and received "best-in-class" accolades for its all-season tires in Germany and Wintrac Pro winter tire in the U.S.
"It is been a tough journey for all us, since the past two year," Kanwar said. "With the continuing uncertainties, I see things continue to remain challenging and we will continue to work toward ensuring increased stakeholder value."
The Apollo chairman also thanked the Indian government and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for protection granted to the domestic tire industry from a "flood of unfairly priced, poor quality imports."
By introducing requirements for licensed imports, he said the government had ensured that only quality products not available domestically could be imported.
In response, Kanwar pledged that Apollo "would significantly increase production, jobs and exports in the years ahead."