The tire brand Dunlop is making its way back to India, almost 10 years after it exited the country.At one point the brand was owned by liquor baron Manu Chhabria, before being acquired by the Pawan Ruia group. Now Dunlop tires will be sold in the country again, through the Ludhiana-based company, Ralson India.
Under the terms of a new agreement, Ralson has acquired the branding and marketing rights to the Dunlop brand and will sell super-premium tires for two- and three-wheelers in the country.manufactures and sells Ralco motorcycle, scooter, moped, three-wheeler, e-vehicle and tractor tires through a 2,000-plus pan India dealership network.
The company will produce Dunlop tires at its state-of-the-art plant in Kot Panech, Ludhiana. It has another manufacturing facility in the north Indian city, located Doraha. The company’s two Ludhiana plants have a combined capacity of 5 million tires per year.
Ralson explains that after it has assessed the demand for Dunlop two-wheeler tires in India, it will expand the brand capacity to other categories.
It is hoped that the combined strength of Ralson and Dunlop will create major possibilities to target a large share of the market. Ralson officials pointed out that a generation of Indians is familiar with the Dunlop brand for their premium quality and technically advanced products, which should drive demand for this legacy brand.
Dunlop’s history in India dates back to 1896, when it started marketing bicycle tires in the countryIn 1926, it incorporated Dunlop Rubber Company (India) Limited with an authorized capital of Rs. 50 lakh/Rs. 5 million ($67,200). The company was renamed Dunlop India Ltd (DIL) in 1928 and opened its headquarters in 1936- Dunlop House on Calcutta’s Free School Street. In the same year, DIL set up the first tire manufacturing factory in Asia, located on a 239-acre plot of land in Sahaganj, West Bengal, near Calcutta.
In 2005, the Ruia Group, led by Pawan Kumar Ruia, took control of DIL, which at this point had accumulated liabilities of over Rs. 650 crore/Rs. 6.5 billion ($87.3 million). In 2006, DIL’s plants in Sahaganj and in Ambattur, Tamil Nadu (near Chennai) re-opened. Dunlop came out of the BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) purview by 2007, but labor problems disrupted operations shortly after, followed by a closure, in March 2008, as power supply was cut due to accumulated dues Dunlop shut down operations in India in 2012