The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries are expected to have an increasing share in the sales revenues of Michelin tyres, Managing Director Jean-Dominque Senard said.

Talking to a group of journalists after the inauguration of the 10th 2010 edition of the ‘Challenge Bibendum' (Bidendum is the company mascot) event here on Monday, he said “from a share of 33 per cent now, we expect the growing markets of BRIC, Indonesia and Eastern Europe to have a share of 40 per cent in the value of our sales.''

Replying to a question as to whether he had any timeframe in mind, he said he was optimistic of achieving this within the next ten years.

BRIC countries were the growth markets, he said, adding that these countries now contributed about 23 per cent of the French tyre major's production. “We meet the rest of the needs of these markets through exports from Europe,'' he added. There would be matching increases in production in these markets. Perhaps from 23 per cent now to 30 per cent, he indicated.

Michelin has production facilities in most of these markets. It has already announced its Indian project which is to come up in Tamil Nadu entailing a Rs.4,000-crore investment, involving the manufacture of truck tyres.

Observing that this was the right time to go to India, he said that while the company had a presence in China, it did not have a strong enough presence in the passenger car segment in Brazil. Michelin has 72 plants in 19 countries.

On the recovery of its established markets, Mr. Senard said that while there had been a 10 per cent growth in volumes, there was a question mark on growth levels in Western Europe. In North America, the growth had picked up although it was yet to gain in strength. On the lessons learnt, he said that flexibility, acknowledging the chances of recurrent crises, quick decision making, protecting cash and balance and not letting go of long-term projects were some of the major lessons.

On the Challenge Bibendum event, he said the objective of such events was to establish sustainability regarding mobility by engaging all the stakeholders and policymakers. “We will discuss over the next two days safer, cleaner ways on mobility. Do not go against mobility- change it.'' Billed as the Michelin´s biggest global event, it is held biennially.

Earlier inaugurating the event, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, President (Brazil), said these issues were close to what was going on Brazil today and such an event being held here was a sort of vote of trust for Brazil.

He said that with a view to reducing pollution, Brazil has already eased the interest rate for buying new trucks so that the older ones could be phased out. It was also contemplating changing laws so that the trucks could be used as collateral. “We also want to change our bus fleet. We have busses that are 18 years old. Not only emission issues but safety issues are also involved,'' he said.

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