12 Jun 2020 17:47 IST

JK’s tyres traverse Indian roads tirelessly

A pioneer in radial tyres tech, the company has many other firsts to its credit, such as its motorsports academy

India’s only tyre Superbrand (and one that has earned the award for the seventh time consecutively in 2019) restarted production after the Covid 19 lockdown recently. Last month, it reportedly crossed a production milestone of two crore units of trucks and bus radial tyres. Now that’s called returning with a bang!

JK Tyre & Industries Ltd., the flagship company of the JK Organisation, is one of India’s leading tyre manufacturers and is also ranked among the global top 25 manufacturers. It is said to be the pioneer in radial technology in India, producing the first radial tyre in 1977, when it started operations at its first tyre plant in Kankroli, Rajasthan.

This plant, which had a capacity of 0.5 million tyres per annum, was followed by another manufacturing facility at Banmore near Gwalior in 1991. The company continued to grow both organically and inorganically, acquiring Vikrant Tyre (Karnataka) in 1997 and Compania Hulera Tornel in Mexico in 2008.

JK Tyre, which is now the market leader in the Truck/ Bus Radial segment, offers a range of products: passenger car tyres; motorcycle/ scooter tyres (Blaze); commercial tyres (LCV, SCV, truck/bus bias;truck/bus radial); farm tyres (both animal driven vehicles and tractors); OTR or off-the-road tyres; three-wheeler tyres and retreads.

Brand names across these categories include Vikrant, Challenger and Tornel. Recently, JK Tyre is said to have launched India’s first ever ‘Smart Tyre’ with features like sensors that constantly check the tyre’s pressure and temperature and enhances safety.

Three plants in Mexico

These tyres and retreads are manufactured across 12 facilities. Three of them are in Mexico and the other nine are located within India – three each at Mysore, Karnataka and Haridwar, Uttarakhand; and one each at Banmore, Madhya Pradesh; Kankroli, Rajasthan; and Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

All these are ISO 14001 certified (for environmental conservation), sustainable units. JK Tyre is also the first Indian tyre company to get a CFV certification as per IS standard. The ISO: 9001, QS: 9000, TS:16949 and the Energy Management System – ISO 50001:2011 - from British Standard Institution are other certifications it has received.

 

The company has a dedicated network of over 4,000 dealers and about 500 ‘Steel wheels’ and ‘Xpress Wheels’ brand shops across the country. JK Tyre is also present in over 100 countries with about 180 global distributors.

Innovation for customers

Innovation to fit the needs of the customer is the mantra followed by the company’s R &D departments – the Raghupati Singhania Centre of Excellence, the Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer and Tyre Research Institute (HASETRI) and the JK Tyre Tech Centre.

It follows naturally that JK Tyre has several firsts to its credit. It runs the country’s only motorsport academy and is also the only manufacturer of truck racing tyres ‘Jetracing’ for the T1 championship, an annual Indian truck race. Its ‘Fix-A-Tyre’ initiative is India’s first ever 24x7 road-side tyre assistance service. It is in the Limca Book of Records for its tyre ‘VEM 045’, the largest OTR tyre in India at 12 ft. height and 3.4 tonnes weight.

It has also engaged in safety drives, highway campaigns and distribution of safety literature to make Indian roads safer. Along with the Constitution Club of India, it organises the ‘Parliamentarians Rally’ where eminent Parliamentarians, diplomats and media persons come together to promote the cause of road safety. In fact, JK Tyre was recently awarded the prestigious ‘Sword of Honour for Safety’ across its plants by the British Safety Council.

Baadshah of radial tyres

The company has advertised continuously through print, retail, television, outdoor promotion and digital media, proudly claiming the title of ‘The Baadshah of radial tyres on Indian roads’. Customer feedback is used not just in the R&D departments but also to sharpen the focus of the taglines like 'Made for India and Made for You' for radials and ‘Ab se tyres mein sirf JK is OK’ for Blaze. The emphasis is always on safety through the ‘Total Control’ (as its logo proclaims) provided by the tyres.

JK Tyre has enduring relationships with some of the biggest names in the Indian automobile industry like Ashok Leyland, Fiat, General Motors, John Deere, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Nissan, TAFE, Volkswagen, Volvo Eicher. Its turnover in 2018-19 was ₹10,450 crore.

Voted as one of ‘India’s Best Companies to Work For’ in 2019 (by Great Place to Work), JK Tyre has also received several awards across various categories like customer satisfaction, export excellence, quality, vendor performance, sales, trustworthiness, best campaigns and environment-friendliness.

Lowest energy consumption

It has in fact proven itself in the last-mentioned category by receiving the ‘Golden Peacock Environment Award’ and becoming the first tyre company in Asia to receive ISO 50001 certification for Energy Management and the first Indian tyre company with a verified carbon footprint (as per ISO-14064). It has launched the ‘Soles with Souls’ programme for re-using discarded tyres.

Further, it reportedly has one of the lowest levels of energy consumption per tonne of tyre manufactured in the world, uses non-conventional energy sources for 21 per cent of its energy requirements, has decreased waste generation and is said to be the global yardstick for the lowest water use per kg of tyre manufactured anywhere.

It engages in CSR activities by addressing issues in agriculture (aiding water conservation and livestock development), unemployment (providing training to unemployed youth), health (addressing reproductive and child health care problems, preventing HIV/AIDS), sanitation (building toilets in rural India) and education (supporting adult literacy programmes).

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