5 reasons which make MRF dominate Indian tyre market
When I travel overseas and interact with my own ilk in the tyre industry I get a puzzled reaction when people get to know that it’s MRF which is the largest tyre company in India. The rebound question is invariably, how come? Tyre trade professionals find it difficult to digest that an Indian brand has been able to outsell by huge numbers the likes of global majors like Michelin, Continental and Goodyear. These 5 pointers have been penned precisely to make my overseas community friends understand the reason behind MRF dominance of the Indian tyre market.
Complete range: MRF is the only tyre company in India which makes complete range of tyres – TBR, TBB, Motorcycle, PCR, LTR etc. When a motorcycle driver migrates to owning a car, MRF also migrates as his preferred choice for his car tyres. In Motorcycle tyre category, MRF brand is colossal. Its tyres sell in “black” (yes you read it right). Retailer sell it above the declared MRP and the demand always outstrips the supply. Company’s dealers do not have to look outside the brand for any of their tyre requirements. Name any SKU and MRF will surely be manufacturing the same. Other brands are now trying to follow the same strategy. Apollo and JK have announced their entry into motorcycle tyre segment to complete their product portfolio. It’s albeit late but as they say better late than never.
Their own channel: MRF does not depend on multi brand tyre outlets to retail their tyres. They have their own MRF exclusive stores. Entrepreneurs with modest ambitions aspire to own a MRF store as this implies assured walk-ins and sales. As a company, MRF is spoilt for choice. They have money bags running after them to open their store. In retail they say only three things matter – location, location and location and MRF gets to pick prime locations for their stores. It’s the left overs which seem to be coming to other brands.
Dealers are happy: MRF dealers tend to be a happier lot. As mentioned above they sell a brand which has a market pull, a complete range and prices which customers do not negotiate. MRF also first feeds its own exclusive stores before supplying to any other multi brand outlet. MRF exclusive store also tends to get better purchase prices than a non-exclusive multi brand store.
Strong OE presence: You can expect any new car which is launched in budget or sedan segment to have MRF tyres on them. They somehow have been able to work with all car companies and be their preferred choice for tyres. I have seen one of my friends who headed tyre purchase in one of the leading car brands, vouching for MRF tyres. Indian consumers when replacing tyres tend to go with OE brand and being an OE Fitment has definitely helped them.
Strong brand connect: MRF has carefully nurtured and grown its brand. Its association with cricket icons like Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh through branding of their bats with MRF logo made them a known commodity among the Indian youth. Their strong focus on brand still continues through mass media campaigns including TV and newspapers. However the brand is still to figure out digital media and that may turn out be their undoing. This we will keep it for discussions for some other day.
Having said that it does not imply that MRF does not face challenges moving ahead. In luxury car segment MRF is simply not there and this market is growing fast. To compound the matter, it does not come as an OE fitment in this segment and for the first time MRF seems to be realizing that when a sedan driver migrates to a luxury car, MRF does not migrate as his preferred choice for tyres.