Interview with Ms. Janet Lin, Marketing Manager for Exports, Asia Pacific, Nankang Tyres
Auto Expo 2014 in Delhi has created a major impact on the minds of Indian customers and businessmen as well. A lot of action is in store for the current year, as visible from 70 new models showcased here. Away from the spotlight, components of the auto industry were on show at Pragati Maidan, the previous venue for Auto Expo. Here, Taiwanese tyre manufacturer seems to have major plans for the Indian market, as per information from Ms. Janet Lin, Marketing Manager for Exports, Asia-Pacific at Nankang.
1. How long has Nankang Tyres been in existence?
Nankang is a 55 year old company, with lots of experience in this sector. It is the first Taiwanese company in the world to manufacture tyres. For the first 20 years, it existed as a Joint Venture with Japanese manufacturer Yokohama. But then Japanese and Taiwanese cultures are quite different and the need to have an independent brand was felt. 2 factories of the company are present in the world- one in Taiwan and the other in China. However, production methods are still Japanese.
2. What plans do you have for the Indian market?
The company operates in India through a distributor network of AGG. Nankang undertook magazine promotions through its association with Autocar India in 2013. It has also been associated with radio advertising since the same year. For the current year, billboards could be used (speculative). There are plans to launch a video and possibly associate with cricket in India, but nothing has been finalised. The company will not produce slick tyres which are used in Formula One.
At present, a major challenge is to get a BIS certificate for selling tyres in India. It involves passing through several obstacles at the Government level, which takes quite long.
3. What products are already being offered in the Indian market?
Currently, 60 different tyre sizes are already being imported into India, for passenger cars and SUVs. For 2014, you can expect 80-90 sizes. Heavy motorcycle tyres may or may not be launched in India. There are no plans to import tyres for trucks and buses in India. Such heavy tyres are already being used I n Japan, Malaysia, Spain, France and Germany. Current distributor does not have ability for motorcycles or scooters.
4. What sizes of tyres do you currently sell in India?
We have tyres ranging from 13 inches to 20 inches.
5. Any plans to have manufacturing units in India?
No plans as of yet. Rest has to be decided by the CEO of this company.
6. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been associated with Nankang?
I have spent just 2 years in this company.
7. How difficult is it being a woman in the tyre industry?
Industry is very competitive and mature. I have to innovate constantly and think of new ideas. I have to find a special way to train people every time. Each year, thousands of new brands are being l launched and these offer tyres at unbelievably low prices. So it becomes difficult for a middle brand like ours. Customers are already familiar with the popular ones such as Michelin and Yokohama. I have to constantly catch peoples? eyes continuously through marketing, which is quite a difficult job for me.
Each country has different cultures. I have to understand different cultures to understand how to pitch the tyre.
8. What differences did you find talking to people in India?
The difference lies in the age of persons whom I talk to. For example, we have carried out flash mobs in USA for the younger generation and then videos were posted. We are trying to gets sponsorship for racing games in Japan. We may think of flash mobs in India, but nothing is certain till we get BIS certificate here.
9. What kind of a routine do you have Nankang?
We have to constantly travel as part of the Marketing team. Every 2 months there are some shows in different parts of the world such as America, Seychelles and this one. So a lot of time is spent in travelling.
As we understand, Taiwanese manufacturer Nankang certainly seems to have big plans in store for India in the current year and the years to come. From all of us here at ChangeMyTyre.com, we wish the Ms. Lin all the best in fulfilling her company goals.