The Banquet hall of Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos was stretched to capacity last Tuesday in a gathering that saw the re-launch of Dunlop tyres into the Nigerian market. For purposes of clarity, the return of Dunlop into the local market will be under the partnership of Apollo South Africa which recently acquired the tyre brand at the global level. It will be marketed in Nigeria by Somotex Nigeria Limited, a multifaceted conglomerate that has been doing business in the country for many years.
Prior to the evening re-launch attended by Kayode Opeifa, commissioner for Transportation in Lagos State and Nseobong Akpabio, Lagos State sector commander, Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), a high-powered team of Apollo Tyres, South Africa led by Riaz Haffejee, chief executive officer, Apollo Tyres South Africa (Pty) Limited accompanied by Ajay Singh, vice president, Somotex Nigeria Limited. The accredited local distributor fielded questions from select Nigerian motoring journalists including BusinessDay who had been following market developments within the industry.
Nigeria has a very close relationship with Dunlop and now Somotex and Dunlop has come together to make this product the market leading brand in the country. We call it an interesting partnership. To this end, both partners are coming together.
In terms of value creation, the CEO pledged the commitment of his company in getting the right product that will meet the needs of various segments of the market including passenger cars, be it MAN trucks or Tata trucks and buses and other vehicular makes. On Dunlop plans for the local market, Riaz Haffejee said that what is uppermost for the company is concentrating on making sure it has the right distributorship across the country.
As he put it, “Some of the things we would like to do at this point are working towards improving our skills and training levels of our dealers that deals with our distributors in the long term. It’s all about taking a long term view with our long term partners and achieving the desired result.”
He revealed that Apollo is prepared to do something that will improve and boost its business confidence in the future along with other marketing activities which is achievable through every necessary support. What we are proud of is that we make a good degree of products that are acceptable out the market. So we have the right products that have proven themselves in many markets around Africa which is a very difficult market.”
He noted that “it is very difficult to bring a tyre not developed in the continent and make it work. So we spent a lot of time on our products to make sure they penetrate any market it enters and to this end, we think that, we have that underground knowledge in the country, we believe that we have the right products coming into a market with huge potentials such as Nigeria.
Among some of tyre brands expected in the market are the Grandtrek AT 20 and Grandtek AT 3, SP Sport 6060 and SP Endura including LT3+ range of products.