NEW DELHI, India (March 19, 2014) — Continental A.G. has inaugurated production of radial truck tires at its expanded Modipuram plant near New Delhi, and is planning to launch the product line nationwide starting April 1.
Conti budgeted $71 million in 2011 to add radial capacity to the plant previously operated by Modi Rubber Ltd., which Conti acquired in July 2011.
The radial truck tire line is rated at 220,000 units annually, Conti said.
To support the launch of the radial truck tire line, Continental India Ltd. has built a dealer network of more than 1,400 outlets along with sales and customer service teams in more than 70 cities across the country.
“Introducing Continental radial truck tires into the Indian market is a momentous occasion for us,” said Andreas Esser, head of Conti’s Commercial Vehicle Tires business.
“India is the second largest market for truck tires in the Asia-Pacific region, and we strongly believe that our premium technology products, manufactured locally and distributed through our Indian market organization, will make Continental a preferred partner in the tire replacement and original equipment business.”
Investing in local production capacities is part of Conti’s strategy to diversify its global manufacturing footprint and expand business in growing markets, such as India, he added.
To ensure the plant’s successful debut, Continental said it brought experienced staff from some of its other international production sites to India in order to train local staff on the new machinery and production techniques. In addition, more than 100 local employees were sent abroad to the tire plants in Germany, Romania, China and Malaysia for training in radial tire production and technology.
“We firmly believe that the personal training of our local staff through experienced experts from other production sites is a key factor for the successful ramp-up of a new tire plant,” said Thierry Wipff, head of manufacturing, commercial vehicle tires.
“The strong manufacturing network supports excellence in operation, especially the case for the switch from producing bias tires to radial tires, where the technology involved is more complex and requires additional know-how.”
Conti’s investment announcement in August 2011 also outlined plans to expand bias-ply truck tire capacity and add capacity for radial car tires. Conti did not mention the status of either of those projects at this time. The entire investment was to create 600 to 800 jobs, Conti said at the time.