Following tyre tracks: Goodyear says the Australian market is being used as a roadmap to predict how emerging markets such as India and Indonesia will grow in the future.
THOUGH volume is low compared to other markets, Australia plays an important and crucial role in tyre development and market forecasts, according to Goodyear Asia Pacific product director of consumer tyres Jenner Powell.
Speaking to GoAuto during the launch of the new Eagle F1 SuperSport line-up, Mr Powell said Australia’s pick-up- and SUV-heavy market is a major consideration when developing new tyres.
“Clearly when we develop an off-road tyre, Australia is a big part in our development process and understanding our consumers because it’s a lot of tyres, even if it is a small country, and it’s a big proportion,” he said.
“Of course we have to modulate that with requirements of other markets, such as South-East Asia, where there is still also quite a big demand for those types of products but have different specific requirements.
“So, depending on the tyre segment, the vehicles that we are targeting, we look at what are the key countries in terms of product sales, but also in terms of competencies and development of the market.”
While Mr Powell would not be drawn on Australia’s ranking in terms of tyre volume or weighting in decision making, he said a focus on the world’s largest market of China is not coming at the cost of other regions.
“If you are talking about volume, the Australian market is a more mature market, it is not growing as much,” he said.
“So it has less potential in terms of growth than to other markets, with China being number one – as you know it is the biggest car market in the world today – and it is still has a lot of potential, so a lot of focus is on China.
“However, Australia, South-East Asia are still markets which are very important to us, to be able to develop our products because we can’t ignore those markets.”
As such, Australia’s value to Goodyear is as a roadmap for emerging and expanding markets in South-East Asia, according to Mr Powell.
“Australia has a big component of SUVs, and I know that it’s partially mixed with the utes, but the market is very mature,” he said.
“It gives us a hands-on experience within the region of a mature market and understanding what are the needs because, don’t forget, as other markets in Asia-Pacific evolve, they are getting more and more mature.
“Therefore we need to pre-empt the needs of these consumers and, obviously, Australia is a very good proving ground for us in those fields.
“You are far away, but not for importance.”