India continues to represent a large and attractive long-term growth opportunity withstrong GDP growth a growing middle class and young population structure. In 2015 Indiahad one of the fastest GDP growth rates for a large economy.
However 2015 has been very challenging with the farm sector being impacted for thesecond year in a row with deficit monsoons and inclement weather playing havoc towards theend of the year in Tamil Nadu. Our Farm business which forms a significant part of theoverall business was impacted by the strong headwinds in the agrarian sector.
It gives me pleasure to share with you that despite the impact on our top line fromthese challenges your company has intensified its efforts in the passenger vehicle marketalong with multi-pronged action in the Farm and Commercial sectors to deliver a robustbottom line.
2015 has seen significant efforts being made to refresh our passenger vehiclereplacement business with the introduction of several new and differentiated products andthe strengthening of offerings in the SUV segment. Focus has also been on expanding ourdistribution footprint and rapid strides were made in expanding the branded store format.Digital continues to be an area of focus for the business with significant efforts inimproving consumer experience and engagement. The year 2015 has seen the introduction of arefreshed website with some innovative consumer friendly tools and enablers.
In the farm business for 2015 your Company received awards from top tractormanufacturers such as M&M TAFE Escorts Agro Machinery and John Deere. These awardsconfirm the high trust and confidence our customers have reposed on us. The replacementbusiness continued its focus on expansion and building channel health through a nurturingwin-win relationship based approach with trade partners. A dealer relationship managementprogram formed the basis for this approach. Product innovation continued with newintroductions planned to capture additional opportunities.
Corporate Social Responsibility has been an area of immense focus in the year gone by.Your company has introduced two new programs as part of its sustainability drive with"Safer Roads Safer You" and "Healthy India program". These programsare targeted at improving road safety and augmenting sanitation infrastructurerespectively two areas that are close to the heart of Goodyear.
2016 is likely to post a reversal in the fortunes of your companys farm businesswith expectations of a normal monsoon. Your company is well placed to capitalise on theopportunities in the rural economy. With the expected improvement in the economy theIndian passenger tyre industry is expected to likely show a moderate growth in 2016.
In 2016 your company will also continue to focus on building/enhancing value forvarious stakeholders of Goodyear India. Expanding its distribution footprintstrengthening its presence in the branded retail segment alongwith improving overall brandstrength and salience will remain key priorities for the business.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our valued shareholders for theircontinued support and trust that they have shown in our company. We will continue to workwith our stakeholders our associates as well as channel partners and suppliers todeliver great products and continue to build value for all whose lives we touch though ourday to day operations.
We will also continue to build on the values of innovation and sustainability in theyears to come and continue to make a difference.
Vice Chairman & Managing Director
Goodyear India Limited