A Positive Outlook
Auto Components India|March 2021
In an Upfront and exclusive interaction, K M Mammen, Chairman, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) speaks highly of the close-knit approach of tyre manufacturers taking along raw material partner suppliers and the OEMs. Ashish Bhatia gauges the sectoral impact on the coming quarters.
Ashish Bhatia

Q. You’ve been a proponent of the ‘Tyre Industry’ leading the march of India manufacturing for the globe? Did this belief hold good even in the pandemic marred Financial Year (FY2021) in hindsight?

A. In fact, the belief has only strengthened. The manufacturing prowess of the tyre industry has shown through during the tumultuous phase of the pandemic. As you know, tyre manufacturing was badly battered during the lockdown which had to be implemented urgently to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In solidarity with the government’s move, tyre plants shut down operations forthwith despite the fact that tyre manufacturing is a continuous process industry, and a sudden shut down of operations could deal a body blow to the work-in-progress and the raw material inventory. However, when the lockdown was lifted, the industry got down to business in the right earnest, braving all odds and disruptions. It goes to the credit of the industry that not only domestic demand was met squarely but sustained focus was also maintained on tyre exports. With economic stimulus, infrastructure received a boost and the tyre industry was privileged to be the wheels of the nation. Tyre production numbers are much healthier in the third quarter (Q3FY2021) of the current fiscal despite the pandemic as compared to the previous fiscal numbers.

Q. What will it take for the industry as a whole to align with this vision?

A. The tyre industry has seasoned entrepreneurs having been in the business for several decades. So the industry as a whole is aligned to the vision of ‘Make in India’ with its attributes of domestic manufacturing, employment and skill development.

Q. What is the near to medium term sectoral outlook?

A. The outlook is optimistic indeed. The economy is in a fast recovery mode and has shrugged off the pandemic blues. In the coming fiscal, India is looking at over 11 per cent growth which will be a historic high though it will be on a low base. As tyre industry’s fortunes are closely linked to economic growth, the outlook is positive in the near to medium term.

Q. In H2-2020, we’ve heard of a shortage of performance tyres for the aftermarket? How has the industry tackled this situation?

A. There was a large pent up demand as the process of unlocking was initiated so that might have led to some short-term disruptions in the supplies. Largely, the demand has been adequately met by the tyre manufacturers.

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