Wednesday, 22 June 2022

"Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA) is starting to reap the benefits of a strategy designed to grow its share of the Original Equipment (OE) market by focusing on developing products that meet the stringent standards demanded by this sector. "

As manufacturers of the Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken tyre brands, SRSA has secured OE agreements with leading brands including Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu, Ford, TATA, UD Trucks, Scania, MAN, Iveco and VWSA. This means that tyres produced by SRSA are fitted to new vehicles on the assembly lines of these international brands.

“Our OE footprint is growing steadily as vehicle manufacturers gain trust in the quality, safety performance and durability of locally manufactured tyres. Maintaining credibility in this market requires extensive research and development and ongoing investment in production, as well as a commitment to ensuring on time delivery to our customers,” said SRSA CEO, Lubin Ozoux.

SRSA’s footprint is strong across the car and SUV market, but the big gain can be seen in the Truck and Bus Radial Tyre (TBR) market, which is in recovery and where OEMs are favouring local content, which the company’s local TBR factory in Ladysmith provides. In the passenger car market, SRSA has enjoyed growing demand for SUV 17-inch and 18-inch tyres.

The locally produced Dunlop Grandtrek AT25 size 255/65R17 has been selected as the OE standard for South Africa’s newest bakkie entrant, the locally built Isuzu D-Max launched in April 2022. The Grandtrek AT25 is also speci¬fied as original equipment on the Nissan Navara (in locally produced sizes 205R16 AT25, 255/65R17 AT25 and 255/60R18 AT23), as well as selected Toyota Fortuner and Hilux models.

Meeting global standards

Vehicle manufacturers have varying specifications and targets to reach depending on the vehicle they are producing. Tyre design and construction play an important role in ensuring a vehicle meets global requirements such as emission standards, especially where a vehicle is planned for export

Ozoux says OE tyre manufacturing agreements are very good for the local tyre market and the South African consumer, as they compel local tyre manufacturers to think ahead about what the future global requirements are in terms of factors such as environmental impact and rolling resistance.

“This contributes towards improving tyre quality for local consumers. Being able to win a bid to produce tyres for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) shows that a tyre company can develop tyres that meet global standards,” said Ozoux.

“Being intentional about gaining market share in the OE sector has also been good for our business. It has pushed us to keep thinking ahead to ensure we have the necessary know-how and technology. OEMs generally choose a tyre supplier based on the company’s technical capability to fulfil the design and performance requirements, cost and risk to the project timing. They will be guided in their decision making on how you performed on previous projects. For this reason, we put a lot of effort into protecting the relationships we have built with OEMs, which means ensuring 100% quality and on time, in full deliveries to our OE customers,” he added.

SRSA is continuously enhancing its factory capability, which it considers key to meeting future OE tyre requirements. “The goal is to be able to industrialise the latest designs received from Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ headquarters in Kobe, Japan, where our designers are constantly tracking OEM trends and requirements and benchmarking competitor tyres to ensure our latest designs measure up.”

“A drive is currently underway to improve equipment and process controls with a view to producing light weight RRC tyres that are efficient without losing other performance characteristics,” Ozoux concluded.

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