Michelin India plans to launch five new TyrePlus outlets by the end of this yearMichelin plans to open five new TyrePlus outlets by the end of this year. The company recently opened its 12th TyrePlus outlet, Grip Sales Pvt Ltd, at Vashi in Navi Mumbai. In keeping with Michelin's global standards for TyrePlus outlets, this outlet will aid the company to extend a state-of-the-art retail experience to the consumers in the region. Spread over a total area of around 1700 sq.ft, the Grip Sales (TyrePlus) outlet offers a pleasant ambiance. Inaugurated by Mr Chandan Thakur, National Sales Manager - Passenger Car, Michelin India, the outlet, apart from an innovative display of tyres and accessories also includes a workshop. The workshop is equipped with latest machinery to handle all tyre-and-vehicle related services, an exercise undertaken by Michelin Tyres for all its TyrePlus outlets across the world. A team of 10 executives, trained in required skills, makes up the Grip Sales' team. Owned by Mr Gurbakshish Singh Madan, the Grip Sales outlet does not include financial participation from Michelin. Michelin investment, according to Chandan Thakur, amounts to shop standardisation, staff training that encompasses product, soft and management skills, etc. Apart from this, Michelin also invests in advertisements and launch promotions. Michelin currently has 12 TyrePlus outlets across India, including the Grip Sales outlet. The addition of five new outlets by the end of this year is expected to help the company to tap the rapidly growing aftermarket. With many carmakers lining up their offerings for Indian buyers, the market is expanding rapidly, and with it, the opportunities for tyre manufacturers. Currently importing tyres from manufacturing destinations across the world, Michelin is also investing in a manufacturing facility at Chennai. It is part of the company's plan to invest Rs 4000 crore over seven years. Scheduled to go on stream by November 2012, the plant will have a capacity to roll out close to three lakh radial truck tyres in the first year of operation, and 20 lakh truck radial tyres at full capacity. Probably the biggest Michelin facility ever, with 90% of the produce earmarked for domestic consumption, it is clear that Michelin is bullish about the Indian truck and bus radial tyre market. Already an OE supplier to Volvo, Michelin, if industry sources are to be believed, may set up a second facility once the plant it is currently building reaches full capacity by the year 2013-14. The company is holding discussions with various automakers in India. But a large chunk of revenue for the company comes from the aftermarket, and is therefore is of greater importance. "Consumer choice is very important when it comes to the aftermarket. Buyers are well educated and well exposed. They are keen on a product that offers good value for money," says Thakur. "Michelin tyres are not only price oriented," he adds, "they also reflect a good relation between the manufacturer and consumer, and also offer better performance." Lagging behind the OE market by 3 to 4 years, the aftermarket according to Thakur is dependent on the time taken by a new vehicle owner to shop for a new set of tyres. Apart from the 12 TyrePlus outlets, Michelin has more than 800 passenger car and SUV tyre dealers. Some of these also sell two wheeler tyres. These outlets would also offer tyres from other brands. The TyrePlus outlets may house Michelin memorabilia and highlight the entire range of Michelin tyres. This is apart from the various products like car polish, interior cleaning solutions, alloys, batteries, horns, lubes, etc., that the outlets sell. Under the one-stop-shop concept, TyrePlus outlets offer a variety of quick automotive services helping customers to minimise the time and money involved in maintaining their vehicles. "Our objective is to have a multi-brand approach. Michelin does not believe in a single brand approach. Also TyrePlus outlets offer good service experience," says Chandan Thakur, in conclusion.