Maxxis Tyres have We speak with Mr. Bing-Lin Wu, Marketing Head at Maxxis India in the first of our brand new series Straight Drive to know his thoughts on various topics ranging from the Tyre makers journey in India to pre and post Covid market sentiments and much more. Here is what he had to say to MotorWorldIndia on this one to one questionnaire.
- How has the India journey been so far for Maxxis?
Maxxis Tyres started operations in India in the year 2015 and this year marks 5th year of our operations here. The last 5 years gave us a good headway and we managed to establish our feet on the India map. We are fully committed to the government’s Make In India initiative and our key focus is to fulfil domestic market for now.The manufacturing plant in Sanand, Gujarat is only the first step of Maxxis’s full range appearance in the country. Our intent is to Make In India for the world; we are supplying regularly to overseas market with Made in India products to Sri Lanka, Nepal and Kenya. The product portfolio from the India facility will further expand to Africa and Middle East countries in the coming years. We managed to set-up dealer network across India with a holistic Pan India footprint. We now have over 2000 dealers PAN India. We have partnered with OEM for the world largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero Moto Corp and Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India Limited. Recently we have started supplying tyres to YAMAHA and SUZUKI Motorcycles. We are fast expanding our portfolio as per new trends and market demand.
2 – What has been the investment so far? Can we expect more expansion?
The company made an investment of over $400 million in its Sanand plant in Gujarat. We currently employ workforce of 600+ people and are committed to extend manpower to 2000 within 5 years. We are one of the fastest growing tyre companies in India with a long-term vision to achieve a 15% market share by 2026 and set up 5 manufacturing plants. Currently, we have used half of the land (106 acres) we got from the Gujarat government for the planned 60,000 units’ capacity. Owing to COVID-19 pandemic, we are carefully evaluating the situation this year and will take appropriate steps to realize our future plans, in the time to come.
3 – How has the Indian market reacted to the Maxxis tyre brand?
Maxxis has a deep rooted connect with the India market even before we started production. With increasing focus on safety, Maxxis produces the highest quality products developed from a combination of superior raw material and world-class technology. In the last 5 years, we have received overwhelming response to our commuter segment range of tyres. Today, I’m glad to say that we are the OEM partners for the World’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero Moto Corp and Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India Limited. Recently we have started supplying tyres to YAMAHA and SUZUKI Motorcycles and in talks with other OEM’s as well. We have penetrated across all 29 states and 8 Union Territories of India and opened our first exclusive retail store in Goa last year to meet the growing demands of our customers. We are working on new alignments and partnerships with new set of OEM’s for the two-wheeler market as well as working on expanding our portfolio for the replacement market.We are also looking at long-term partnerships with Yamaha Motor India, Suzuki Motorcycles and other leading manufacturing companies in time to come. Also for the replacement market, our current range of Maxxis tyres is suited for popular models such as Bajaj (Discover, Avenger Street 160, Avenger 220, Avenger Street 180, Avenger Street 150, Pulsar 220 FDTSI, Pulsar NS 160, Dominar 400 ), Hero (HF-Deluxe, Splendor I-Smart, Glamour, Duet, Destini, Passion, Maestro), Honda (Activa, CB Shine, Aviator, Dream Yuga, CB 300R, CBR 250R, CB HORNET 160R), Suzuki (Access, Hayate, Burgman, Gixxer 250), Kawasaki (Ninja 400, Ninja 300,Z250), KTM (125 DUKE, 200 DUKE, 390 DUKE, 250 DUKE), Mahindra (Gusto, Centuro), TVS (Jupiter, Wego , Star City ,Victor, Apache RTR160, Apache RTR200,Apache RTR180),Piaggio (Vespa), Yamaha (Ray, Fascino, Saluto, YZF R15 Ver 3.0, FZ25,YZFR3), Jawa (Classic, Forty Two, Perak) and many others.
4 – Any plans of entering the Indian Motor Sports like MRF and JK Tyres?
Maxxis Tyres time and again has proved its mettle in the most adventurous and deadliest rallies of the world. Since 2013, Maxxis Tyres has been a sponsor in Dakar Rally and became the lead sponsor and tyres provider to the Dutch team led by Tim Coronel in the 42nd edition of Dakar Rally 2020. Various line-up of tyres for sports bike with different applications for road and weather conditions will be introduced in a very short time. We are evaluating the space of market for more product introduction. Currently, our portfolio covers ~82% of market’s users’ scenario and we plan to raise it more than 90% this year. In India we started a very unique initiative ‘Women In Front’, the program aims to empower and encourage Indian women to experience the freedom of riding and challenge gender stereotypes. As a company with a strong biking DNA, we believe that superior performance and safety goes hand-in-hand. Through this initiative, we provided women with relevant training and safety practices that will help them take the front seat and pave their own journey without any fear or hesitation.
- Can we expect any more tyre models from your global lineup?
The T Razr tyre was conceptualized in 2018 in Taiwan and is developed for actively detecting different driving conditions and providing active signals to transform the contact area of the tyre to improve traction performance. We provide optimal products for different users riding different vehicles on different terrain. The learnings and discovery we equipped ourselves with during the research and development stage of this innovative product will be shared within the organization and the suitable technologies will be adapted and extended in conceptualizing our future product portfolio in India as well.
6 – How has the Covid and lockdown period affected Maxxis Tyres in India?
The world is facing the heat of the most unprecedented crisis with COVID-19 pandemic. OEM’s are facing the most difficult times with the lockdown and with the disruption in production. However, we resumed production operations on May 4, 2020 at our Sanand plant, Gujarat. Maxxis India plant has started operations in a graded manner following all government protocols of social distancing, limited workforce, and other safety measures for the employees. The market is witnessing a spur in personal mobility with more and more people opting for two-wheelers, hence we foresee a steady movement for our business as well. We witnessed a significant growth in the sales of replacement products in the past 2 months. Sales in the month of July was 30% higher as compared to pre-covid time (Jan-Feb). We are confident that the situation will further advance by end of this year.
7 – How long do you see for the Indian Automotive industry to come out of the current Covid downfall?
We have started witnessing signs of revival and with more and more people opting for personal mobility, the demand for automobiles will tend to rise. We are confident that the demand will bounce back once the lockdown lifts up; especially in the rural market with significant sales growth on 17/18 inches commuter models ranging from 100cc to 125cc. We are expecting this phenomena to have an impact on our tyre sales proportion.
8 – What has been your prime aim since you taken over India operations?
MaxxisTyres entered Indian market in 2015 and since that time our priority has been to provide world class tyres to the customers. We have partnered with several OEMs in last 5 years. We are one of the fastest growing tyre companies in India with a long-term vision to achieve a 15% market share by 2026 and set up 5 manufacturing plants. Currently, we have used half of the land (106 acres) we got from the Gujarat government for the planned 60,000 units’ capacity. We are evaluating the current market situation and will navigate our strategy as per the future condition.
- Tell us about the Covid safety steps taken by Maxxis at your manufacturing unit.
As we resumed operations at our plant in Sanand, Gujarat on 4th May, we started operations in a graded manner following all government protocols of social distancing, limited workforce, and other safety measures for our employees. The health of people is of utmost importance and Maxxis has laid down guidelines under which manufacturing facility will operate in shifts with restricted manpower, implemented remote working protocols where feasible, suspended all business travel, prohibited any visitors at the plant, regular deep cleaning with disinfectants. Employees will practice social distancing and maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance between each other. In addition, at the entrance and exit of the plant, all employees will pass through the disinfectant tunnel. We are also sending mailers to all our stakeholders on #POSITIVEMINDSET to give them tips on how to utilize the lockdown period efficiently.Additionally, India practiced 21 – day lockdown which was significant in further preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Being a responsible brand, we came up with a logo that signified 21-day lockdown period. We appealed the masses and our stakeholders to stay indoors and abide by all govt protocols.
- What message would you like to give out to your channel partners, customers during the difficult Covid times?
Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation. I thank all our channel partners and customers for their continuous support. We look forward to the future we will make together even in such challenging time – after all, family members get closer in hard times, warriors sharpen skill in battles, carbon atoms form diamonds under immense heat and pressure. We share the firm belief that year 2020 is only going to get better. At Maxxis, the well-being and safety of our teams, partners, customers and communities are our top priority. As we closely monitor the evolving impact, we are implementing ongoing measures to ensure the health and safety of our staff, while also maintaining the highest level of business support to our partners and service to our customers.
At our manufacturing plant at Sanand,we have team shift structure to ensure that we can continue to produce and supply. With an unwavering support from our channel partners, our strategy remains on track for us to deliver our products to fulfill the domestic demand.It’s paramount to us that they continue to receive the same level of support they are accustomed to, and we’re confident that we can navigate through these times together without business disruption. We have implemented online collaboration programs to keep remote teams connected to ensure our services stay up and running at all times for our customers.We have left no stone unturned to ensure that all our dealer outlets are fully sanitized for customers to make a purchase. They can easily make a purchase by clicking on the Maxxis dealer locator on our website. The dealer locator will advise them with the nearest dealership to minimize travel time. Additionally for any kind of assistance required, they can get in touch with our service team at our Toll-free number. During this time, we will do everything we can to support our community around the world and collectively become stronger for the future.
Maxxis is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd., the largest two-wheeler tyre manufacturer and the ninth largest tyre company in the world. The company has its presence in 6 continents with 21 manufacturing plants and 5 R&D Centres worldwide, serving customers across 180 countries. The sub-company of Maxxis Group, Maxxis India (Maxxis Rubber India Private Limited) started its own arm of business in India in 2015 and has built its first manufacturing facility in Sanand, Gujarat. The facility is spread across a massive 106 acres and has a capacity to produce around 20,000 tyres and 40,000 tubes per day. Maxxis currently serves as an OEM tyre supplier to Honda, Hero Moto Corp, Yamaha and Suzuki (Two-wheelers), Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Tata and Jeep in India. Maxxis Rubber India has been selected as the original equipment tyre supplier to India’s number one selling model, Honda Activa, since 2015. Maxxis is fast expanding its partner network and have built over 2000 dealer network so far in India.