By Oliver Hall
India’s tyres industry is suffering due to a sharp rise in low price Chinese imports, according to new figures.
Cheap tyres, which are often brought in from China illegally, are up to 30 per cent cheaper compared to Indian products, officials say.
Now the tyres industry is calling on its Government to intervene to check the cheaper imports and introduce and anti-dumping duty.
Tyre imports from China have risen dramatically over the last six years, data from ATMA showed, from about 80,000 CV tyres in 2002/03 to a staggering 1.63 million units in the year ending March 2009, an almost 20-fold rise.
Rajiv Budhraja, director general of Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) said: “Today, Chinese imports in percentage terms into the replacement market is anywhere between 12-15 percent, which means every sixth tyre fitted on an Indian vehicle is a Chinese tyre.”
Share values of tyre firms have taken a beating, with the top four — MRF, Apollo Tyres, JK Tyre, Ceat — sliding over 50 percent over the past 12 months.
Like the rest of the world’s tyre manufacturers, the Indian companies are also still reeling from the double blow of a slowdown in vehicle sales and a shrinking replacement market.
And last month a powerful US union called on its government to come to the aid of its ailing tyres industry by limiting the amount of tyres imported from China, which it partly blames for the decline in sales.