Kanwar said during the financial year of 2020-2021, the COVID-19 pandemic lead to adaptation and new ways of working.
“As a global company with plants in three countries and employees in many more, it was a challenging time for us as we had to understand multiple scenarios,” Kanwar said. “The situation was different in each country and also kept changing fast. We could not have a uniformity of approach and had to learn quickly to live with the added complexity. I think the first and foremost focus of the leadership was to ensure the safety of all our Apollo family members who were working in the plants, at offices and from home.”
As India faced lockdowns and mass migrations out of cities, the economy declined and so did demand, Kanwar said. For the first time in over two decades, Apollo Tyres announced a net loss in the first quarter of the fiscal year.
According to Kanwar, the company shifted its focus to reducing costs and enhancing manufacturing efficiency. “It is my firm belief that we need to drive unnecessary cost out of our business, as that is the delta between a profitable and a losing organization in this increasingly global industry.”
Kanwar said the strategy of future-proofing the company, even during the pandemic, helped to commission a manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh, the seventh global unit, and the fifth in India. In addition, the company also started a two-wheeler radial tire facility in Gujarat, India.
While adjusting to the pandemic, business continued as usual, according to Kanwar.
“We did product launches, expanded our dealer network, but virtually and digitally,” Kanwar said. “We virtually launched the new identity of our product brand Vredestein, and this will allow us to position the brand, which has a legacy of over 110 years, as an even more premium brand and take our marketing activities to the next level.”
Kanwar said the Americas is a large market for the company, and this year saw the launch of Vredestein brand and its specially designed product portfolio for the North American market. Kanwar added, “The response has been extremely good, and we hope to make a mark with our products in the next few years.”
As for the future, Kanwar has set the goal of reaching $5 billion in sales by fiscal year 2025-2026.
“I am confident that with your support and the drive of our people, we will reach the target,” Kanwar said. “Your support is highly valued and the company’s success is an indication of the faith you have always bestowed upon us. The support that we continue to receive from our banks, financial institutions and the governments wherever we operate, enables us to plan for the future. With all of this we shall continue to grow together as Apollo. One family.”