Story & Photo: Bhargav TS

Taiwan-based Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. plans to drive into the Indian two-wheeler market by offering quality tyres at a competitive price. Currently, the company has started supplying tyres to Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp in India, and is talking to a few more two-wheeler manufacturers like Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) and India Yamaha Motors. Kenda has been manufacturing tyres for bicycle, lawn and garden mower, ATV, industrial and motorcycles since 1962.

Raymond Chan, Assistant Manager – Export Sales, Kenda Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd.Speaking to Auto Components India, Raymond Chan, Assistant Manager – Export Sales, Kenda Rubber Ind Co Ltd said, “In India, we supply our tyres to Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto from our Vietnam factory, which has a capacity to manufacture 37,000 tyres per day. Currently, we are importing 150,000 tyres into India, of which we supply 120,000 to Hero and 30,000 to Bajaj. For Bajaj, we started supplying tyres from 2009, and from May 2014 we started supplying to Hero. Currently, we are working with Mahindra, HMSI and Yamaha to supply two-wheeler tyres and hope we will bag orders from them soon.”

After inaugurating its Kunshan plant in China and adding capacity to its Yun Lin plant in Taiwan, and Tianjin facility in China, in 2001, Kenda started producing 35,000 passenger cars and light-truck tyres a day. At present Kenda has 5 factories in China, 2 in Taiwan, 1 in Vietnam and is soon planning to setup a new plant in Indonesia. The company sees high demand coming from Indonesia and other Asian markets. This has made Kenda put up its new factory in Indonesia; moreover it has ‘zero’ import duty in all the Asian countries. Globally, it supplies two-wheeler tyres to all the international OEMs; passenger car tyres are sold in the replacement market.

2014-09-11 16.40.11Commenting on the adaptability to Indian road conditions, Chan said, “Before we stepped into India, we evaluated all the tyres that are used in the Indian market and benchmarked a few tyres to understand the local conditions. This helped us to develop a tyre to suit the Indian road condition. To keep up with the changing needs, Kenda engineers are constantly working to make improvements, to enhance durability and overall performance. Together with the development of an attractive brand image and the formation of a network of dedicated sales partners, quality is one of our 3 pillars for success in India.”

Kenda is also exploring opportunities in India to sell its tyres in the replacement market, and is looking for distributors. “We are in the process of establishing a strong distribution network to popularise our products in the Indian aftermarket. We are looking for a financially sound distributor for the aftermarket segment, and for the OE business we will supply tyres directly to the vehicle manufacturers,” says Chan.

Kenda has 3 passenger car radial (PCR) plants that produce 10 million tyres a year, which includes their plant in Taiwan. The Tianjin plant can be expanded from 5,000 tyres a day to 25,000 by adding more equipment. The Kunshan plant can grow from 22,000 to 40,000 tyres per day; their Shenzhen plant does not make radial tyres at the moment. In order to expand the PCR business, Kenda plans to grow its brand image and increase volumes by adding more OE customers.

Asked about the truck bus radial tyre (TBR), Chan said, “In 2001, we moved into the PCR and LTR business, and that has been very successful for us. So the next natural growth area for Kenda is the TBR business. Kenda has been thinking about that for the last 2 years, and has been actively discussing with the Chinese government to produce the same, where Kenda has a fairly large factory. We are working on a viability study to see how big the scope of the project should be and hope in the next 3 years we will start manufacturing TBRs.”


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