Apollo Tyres Ltd announced the opening up of its global R&D centre in Enschede, the Netherlands. This state-of-the-art facility will serve as a hub for the development and testing of car and van tyres for all product brands — Apollo, Vredestein and Dunlop (32 countries in Africa) — of the company. Apollo Tyres Global R&D BV will start operations with more than 100 R&D specialists from various parts of the world, including 20 car tyre specialists from India and South Africa, and will later be scaled-up to nearly 150 people.
“The Global R&D Centre is an important milestone in our journey to become a $6 billion tyre company by 2016. This world-class centre will play a key role in bringing cutting-edge technology and innovation in the development of car and van tyres of the future,” said Onkar S Kanwar, Chairman, Apollo Tyres Ltd during the inauguration of the R&D centre.
Deputy Chief of Mission from the Indian Embassy to the Netherlands, R K Singh and Mayor of Enschede, Honourable Peter den Oudsten, inaugurated this facility in the city of Enschede. Onkar S Kanwar, Chairman and Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director along with the senior management team of Apollo Tyres were present on the occasion.
Recently, Apollo Tyres restructured its Research and Development team, across its 3 key geographies, to create synergy and greater alignment to the company’s growth aspirations; and to generate speed and relevance while entering new markets. The new structure connects the entire organisation via 2 major R&D centres — for commercial purposes and car tyres. In line with this strategy, the company is bringing together its R&D resources comprising almost 250 people in Africa, Europe and India to create two global R&D hubs — Enschede, the Netherlands for Car and Van tyres and Chennai, India for Commercial Vehicle tyres.
The 2 locations were chosen based on current and potential markets. The Middle East and Asia form nearly 59 percent of the global market for commercial vehicle tyres, while Europe and North America represent 51 percent of the car tyre market. Both R&D departments will be in close contact with OEMs and replacement clients, test centres, raw material suppliers and research institutes.
Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Apollo Tyres Ltd said, “While we have merged our research and development resources, smaller teams across key markets will work on customising each global product to market requirements and testing under local conditions. Going forward, R&D will continue to be the cornerstone of our vision, as we plan to ramp up the R&D spend to 3% of our sales revenue.”
According to Peter Snel, Group Head, PV R&D, Apollo Tyres Ltd, “Apollo has taken a bold strategic decision to centralise its R&D activities for car tyres in Europe. Given that Europe is one of the most advanced automotive markets in the world, the facility will help Apollo to further step up efforts to build tyres for the future. It will also strengthen our relationship with the global OEMs.”