When the leading Indian tire manufacturer, Apollo Tyres Ltd., acquired the 100-year-old Vredestein Tyres business in the Netherlands 7 years ago, it was a bold step in securing a solid basis in Europe for Apollo from which to operate from. Today, this young, dynamic and ambitious company, based in the Indian city of Gargaon, is proud of its unique identity.
Apollo development hub
From its European headquarters in Enschede, the company has gone from strength to strength. The state-of-the-art facility serves as a hub for the development and testing of car and van tires for all of the company’s product brands ? Apollo, Vredestein, and Dunlop. In 2013, Apollo opened its global R&D centre in Enschede and, in July 2015, it went on to open an auxiliary office in Amsterdam with 30 personnel working in Marketing, Finance, Sales and HR. The CEO is also based in the Amsterdam office.
Mr. Onkar S. Kanwar, Chairman of Apollo, explains: “The acquisition of Netherland-based tire company Vredestein 7 years ago was undertaken because it was a great strategic fit. Apollo gained in terms of tire technology, skilled resources, brand value and a well-established distribution network. Vredestein – now Apollo Vredestein BV – benefitted from economies of scale, a stable leadership and access to the global market. Today, we have more than 1,400 people working at our Enschede plant.”
World class center
Kanwar went on to comment on more recent developments: “In January 2013, we opened our global research and development (R&D) center in Enschede, with more than 100 R&D specialists from various parts of the world. This world-class center plays a key role in bringing cutting-edge technology and innovation to the development of passenger car and van tires of the future.”
Through its specialized R&D Centres, Apollo is engaged in a continuous dialogue to learn about customer expectations and needs in each region, in order to understand how it can best serve customer’s local requirements.
To boldly go
Peter Snel, Group Head, PV R&D, Apollo Tyres Ltd, stated, at the time of the opening: “Apollo has taken a bold strategic decision to centralize its global R&D activities for car tires in Europe. Given that Europe is one of the most advanced automotive markets in the world, the facility will help Apollo to further step up efforts to build tires for the future. It will also strengthen our relationship with the global OEMs.”
The strategy of using Vredestein’s network to stake a claim in the highly-competitive European market paid off and, as icing on the cake, the company was honored with the Tyre Manufacturer of the Year award, at the Tyre Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence 2013, in Cologne, Germany.
When asked about Apollo’s vision for the future, Mr. Kanwar replied: “Apollo Tyres as an organization seeks to create value for all its stakeholders providing value-driven propositions to network partners, collaborating with business partners to figure out eco-friendly raw materials and engaging with the local communities to channel growth and progress through education, employment and health initiatives.”
Commenting on the company’s experience in the Netherlands, Mr. Anwar was very positive: “Our experience so far in the Netherlands has been extremely fruitful and we can say, without a doubt, that it is a country with a strategic vocational advantage, being in the heart of Europe. The business climate is progressive and welcoming. The people are very friendly and open to innovation and change. All this adds up to an ideal business destination.
Additionally, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) has been a very supportive business partner across various facets over the last several years. This has encouraged us and been a key factor in our decision to make further investments in the Netherlands.”