Or more specifically, the brand that already competes in Europe and in India with the big boys — Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental and Pirelli — will be taking them on in North America for its share of the Tier 1 passenger and light truck tire markets.
The premium tire brand, acquired in 2009 by Apollo Tyres Ltd., is launching its North American campaign in late August and into the remainder of 2020, expanding its marketing presence and dealer reach, with an array of products designed specifically for the North American consumer.
While Vredestein was present in the U.S. from the 1970s to the early 2000s, this is the first time it will be marketed broadly as an Apollo-owned brand. It's a strategy that has been more than four years in the making, one that eventually may culminate in the opening of a U.S. manufacturing facility.
"For us, the next step in our growth strategy is the U.S.," Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and managing director of Apollo, told Tire Business in an exclusive interview.
Mr. Kanwar said the Vredestein brand is the perfect product for the tire maker.
"Vredestein is our premium brand. And I really want to play in the premium segment," Mr. Kanwar said. "I don't want to play in the mass segment."
With capacity at two plants in Europe — in Enschede, Netherlands, and the state-of-the-art factory in Gyöngyöshalász,Hungary — Mr. Kanwar said, "The company can now service the North American market, and in Vredestein, it had exactly the right brand heritage needed to credibly compete."
Mr. Kanwar, whose family founded the tire maker in 1972, said his company has invested more than $30 million in product development for the North American market.
"Vredestein is the only Tier 1 brand in the world of tires which is not significantly present in the United States," Mr. Kanwar said.
"It's a massive opportunity," said Abhishek Bisht, assistant vice president, Americas, as well as managing director for Reifen.com G.m.b.H., an Apollo Tyres' retail tire/auto service subsidiary in Germany with 31 outlets.
"We want the business partners, the dealers, to realize that opportunity. There isn't another one left in the tire world. Many of them are realizing that. Everything from the way we present ourselves to the product performance to the system processes, everything we are benchmarking ourselves with the best available. And we are doing our best to outdo them."
Apollo has set a goal of $200 million in sales a year in North America, and the idea "is to reach that as soon as possible," Mr. Bisht said. By comparison, Apollo's sales in all markets outside of Asia and Europe in fiscal 2018-19 were $175 million.