BW Auto World talked to Anuj Kathuria, President, JK Tyre and Industries on the performance of the tyre industry post-pandemic and how their new product Levitas Ultra is going to perform in the market. Here's what he said:
What value Levitas Ultra adds compared to the other products of brands in the market?
Levitas Ultra is a premium segment offering and this helps us complete our portfolio. A tire is developed only built on the technology available at the current time and technology is very dynamic. So this has specific features and one of the best things about this is, that it has features which have been designed and developed keeping the Indian operating conditions in mind Indian road conditions. So this has a speed rating of W as well as Y. So it can go up to 300 kilometres per hour. It is an energy-efficient Tire. It has a five-star rating. It delivers features like better steering control, better ride and handling. Even the sidewall stability is much better, which is required when a sharp turn is taken, we have got it tested. So it is definitely the most contemporary offering in the Indian market for the premium segment.
What are your expectations with this product?
With this product, we are kind of placing ourselves, JK tyres as an organisation which can, which is also having a good presence in the premium segment. So we have been working towards premiumisation and innovative products. We have launched products, like the Ranger series, and UX Royal we have been working on Innovations, like smart tires. So this is one more feather in our cap, one more product which demonstrates our commitment to getting the best in class premium products into the Indian market and also bringing in along with them all the relations.
You have launched 16 and 18 inches tyres. So, are you working towards premium SUV car tires?
We would be taking this to the next level 19 inches and above right up to 22 inches so that is on the anvil, but we will again have to decide when to take it to the market depending on when the need for such vehicles comes, we will accordingly place them in the market.
What is the plan of JK Tyre in achieving the global ambition of carbon neutrality by 2070?
We have been already working on reducing greenhouse gases. We have been able to reduce gas emissions substantially, in the last eight years we have reduced them by almost 57 per cent. We have now taken a task to further reduce it by another 50 per cent by the year 2030. And we have long-term plans to make it almost to a very small level. We have taken certain targets by 2050 we would like to achieve carbon neutrality.
How tyre industry is performing right now?
The tire industry has gone through a rough patch because of a slowdown in the demand. Especially from the OEM side whether it was in the commercial vehicle segment or even in the passenger car segment. On the other side, there were a lot of increases in raw material prices. We saw seven-quarters of back-to-back increases, whether it is in natural rubber or even crude based, whether it is chemicals are synthetic rubber. Now things are improving both on the demand side as well as there is stability in the raw material prices. So we see that even in the forward period, the expectation is that there will be decent growth. We have seen good growth this year and the good part is that at JK Tyre we have been able to grow better than the industry growth. So that means we have gained some market share this year and we expect the same trend to continue in the coming year as well.
How your recently launched EV-specific tires are performing right now?
We have been working on all the segments. So, in Delhi, all the EV buses in Delhi, which are being operated by DTC and run on JK tyres, which are specifically designed for electric vehicles. We are also working with certain other organisations and truck manufacturing companies such as Elektra, which is working on these EV tippers, they are also using our tires. On the three-wheeler segment, we are working with 8 to 10 OEMs. Where are the cars are being tested and some of them are almost on the verge of introduction with our tires in passenger cars. We recently introduced a tire in the Ranger series, which is specifically designed for EVs which have a much lower coefficient of rolling resistance. It has lower noise levels. It also has a better grip on the road. So overall we have been working on these things and we are making good progress, and we are preparing ourselves that when the EV demand of vehicles really goes up because right now it is not that great but we have kept ourselves in a state of Readiness.
How was quarter three for JK Tyre?
Q3 was good, we saw good growth. We had recorded consolidated sales of 3623 crores, in quarter 3, which was a 17 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter in the same year. And overall, for the first time in months, also we have recorded, a 27 per cent growth as compared to the previous year, same period. So overall things are good. In fact, even despite the global slowdown, our exports had done reasonably well in quarter 3. On profitability, we were also quite good and things were quite.