A recent, simple back-of-the-envelope calculation resulted in a countrywide initiative to express a “thank you” to loyal customers. Resulting in over 450 customer meets, covering 300 locations, touching the lives of 25,000 direct customers, in all 28 states in India, spread over a 3 month time frame.
Why? Apollo’s cross ply heavy commercial vehicle tyres, a category where it is the undisputed market leader in both technology and sheer numbers, have travelled 9.2 million times safely around the world, or over 229 billion miles criss-crossing India to deliver food to the hungry, medicines to the unwell, raw material to feed industry and uniting families living apart.
In the past 3 decades, in its 3 cross ply manufacturing facilities in India, Apollo Tyres has produced over 40 million cross ply tyres. The most premium in the product basket is the XT100K, giving a mileage of over 100,000 kilometres plus. Even if an average of 55,000 kilometres is taken for a set of 6 tyres on a vehicle, Apollo and its customers have travelled an astounding 229 billion miles. That’s enough reason to go back to as many customers as possible to reinforce the trust placed by them on Apollo Tyres.
Chairman Apollo Tyres Ltd, Onkar S Kanwar, reminiscences: “It truly is a time to thank each one of our customers who have ensured our journey from one achievement to another. Cross ply heavy commercial vehicle tyres is what I, along with a very small team, began this company with. Then we just had one product, now the portfolio has grown to 22 products, cutting across segments and usage. In the initial days, we travelled across the country, in trucks to understand customer needs -– that was the only way we could have learnt about our core customer. The practice continues even today and has paid us rich dividends in continuing to manufacture tyres that suit evolving customer needs.”
Named Trust Built on Millions of Miles, the all-India customer connect programme has already begun, where customers have echoed the Chairman’s views. Said S N Mehta of Mehta Transport Corporation, New Delhi, “I have been using XT-7 and XT-7 Gold from the last 15 years. It has minimum wear and tear and provides good mileage; the best part is that my drivers also like these tyres.” P Radhakrishna Murthy of Sri Sri Venkateswara Swamy Lorry Service, Andhra Pradesh adds, “I have been in the transport business since 1950 and I am using XT-9 and XT-9 Gold from last 20 years; these tyres give me a very good mileage.”
The 1.4 million tyres a month commercial vehicle market in India, is still dominated by cross ply tyres –- a segment where Apollo enjoys a clear product technology and service leadership position with nearly 30% market share. The trust reposed on Apollo has allowed the company to come up with newer generations of cross ply tyres based on changing vehicle models, regulations, better road conditions and of course the need to enhance mileage, along with driving comfort.
While there are multiple brands like Amar, XT-9 and the entire Gold series which are customer favourites, a single product that has stood the test of time by 23 years is the XT-7. This is a cross lug tyre designed for moderate load applications, enhanced by a strong casing and wider lugs which give it long life and uniform tread wear. To date, the XT-7 by itself has sold as many as 7.3 million units.
On how all this has been made possible, Onkar S Kanwar, Chairman Apollo Tyres Ltd, mentioned: “These are true team achievements and that is what makes me truly happy as I look back over the years. Only when 3 critical departments like manufacturing, technology and marketing work closely together, supported by others, are figures and number like this in a short span on time feasible. And that is what has happened at Apollo, giving us a clear leadership position.”
While the movement has begun in the Indian commercial vehicle space towards increased radialisation, cross ply as a technology will continue to dominate for some time to come. Given this, alongside investments in radial technology and manufacturing, Apollo Tyres continues to focus equally on fresh investments and research in cross ply technology to ensure the best cost-per-kilometre equation for all its customers.