Then, in 2013 Apollo Tyres SA was sold to SRI and will now trade as Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd. The deal included all of Dunlop’s assets in South Africa except for the Durban factory that will remain with the Apollo Group.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries is the dominant purchaser of Dunlop tyres worldwide, while Apollo had brand rights for Dunlop in only 33 countries. With the new company now having access to all the other emerging countries in Africa, production and sales can be ramped up considerably.
By next year the Ladysmith factory will be producing 100 000 tyres a day. Dunlop motorcycle tyres have been reintroduced to the South African market after years of being unavailable, while tyres for heavy earthmoving equipment will no longer be sold locally.
The imported product range will increase from 358 to 478 different tyres, with the passenger car range increasing from 214 to 312 different products. CEO Riaz Haffejee stresses that the company will be pushing hard to take back market share, with dealer staff training, motorsport involvement and an intense advertising campaign being brought into play.
The onslaught will include keen pricing, an aggressive presence in digital and social media and an Awards Card programme has also been implemented. He also says that the factory in Ladysmith has been expanded, refitted and modernised, with a strong focus on safety. Good news for customers is that Sumitomo tyres are also to be launched in South Africa, with high quality tyres being sold at very competitive prices.
Sumitomo Rubber South Africa also has a new home right here in Durban, at the historic Lion Match Office Park at 892 Umgeni Road.