Data from the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (Atma) show a 23 per cent rise, from 1.13 million in this period of 2011-12 to 1.4 million tyres in this year’s June quarter, of passenger car tyres — mainly driven by Hyundai Motor India, which imports 110,000 tyres monthly, on an average. The comparative figure for truck and bus tyres were 533,035 in April-June last year to 492,268 now.
Atma Director General Rajiv Budhraja says the surge in car tyres is due to use in export of original equipment by major car makers. In markets abroad, consumers prefer tyres of major global firms. Also, European Union (EU) nations require low rolling resistance (LRR) tyres. So, manufacturers prefer imported ones.
He and others in the industry give Hyundai as an example. It is the largest passenger car exporter, to about 120 countries, and could have imported 330,000 tyres in the quarter.
However, a Hyundai spokesperson, while confirming the use of imported tyres, denied any extra import of these, saying the average was the same as last year for the period. As a global manufacturer, he said, Hyundai has to be mindful that its car tyres and brands are locally available and conform to regulatory standards.
On an average, Hyundai Motor India exports 40 per cent of its output and, hence, has to import tyres for these requirements. “In the domestic market, we use impo-rted tyres only for luxury brands like the Sonata and Santa Fe,” the spokesperson said.
Adding: “Some of the reasons we are forced to import these tyres are technology related. Cars exported to EU countries require LRR Tyres and general export cars require half silica tyres.” Neither type is produced in India, as they require advanced technology.