Gujarat Plus - Gujarat on Web
Rediscover Gujrat .....Rediscover the Gujrati in You
Wheels of foreign make `tyre' out local traders Saturday, March 24, 2001
AHMEDABAD: Want to give your four-wheeler a foreign look? With Yokohama, Riken, Michelin, Riken, Pirelli, Bridgestone, Uni-royal, Dunlop, Goodyear, CooperLife Linear or Olympic Sprinter tyres? Wondering where you can get these tyres, which are manufactured in the UK, Germany, Japan, Australia and Brazil? You just have to pop into tyre shops in the city and you can buy yourself new wheels at dirt cheap rates between Rs 500 and Rs 1,300.
But then don't go by the looks for all that the tyres look spanking new, they are not. These wheels are ``engraved and painted black'' by ingenious sellers, who pass them off on to you.
As a result, local traders are a ``tyred'' lot. A large number of these used tyres of foreign make have flooded the city market. Result: sales of new tyres of Indian make have been hit. Tyre traders here allege that these tyres are brought into the country at throwaway prices by people with an import licence. Stating that main dealers are based in Mumbai and Delhi, they claim that these tyres are distributed all over the country.
Take the example of a Sumo jeep. The cost of Indian-manufactured radial tyres of any reputed tyre company comes to around Rs 4,000. Foreign tyres of the same series and size cost between Rs 500 and 1,300, depending on how much they have been used.
Sources in the tyre trade said there are at least half a dozen shops in the city selling foreign tyres. Available cheap, more people prefer these to Indian ones. The sources added that these tyres come cheap because the traders are not paying sales tax and exact octroi before selling them.
Dealers also said that in many cases, there were specialised men appointed by these shops to ``enhance'' the look of these used tyres and make them look new. ``These tyres are engraved here itself and also painted with black paint,'' said a dealer. He also provided the rates that these ``engravers'' charge the shop owners Rs 30 to 40 per tyre.
Visits to two such shops J K Tyre and Santosh Tyres in Saranpur revealed that a wide range of such tyres are available. However, at both shops no receipts were provided for the purchases. Shopkeepers also said they would not provide any written guarantee for the tyres, adding that they would take responsibility for ``any deficiency in the tyre for a period of up to one year, depending on it's condition.''
``These tyres are discarded in other countries and we have dealings with ship companies who bring them to India,'' said Ferozbhai at J K Tyre. He showed at least half a dozen tyres for a jeep with prices ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 1,200.
At the Santosh Tyres godown, there were at least a dozen people with stained clothes and hands. When asked, one of them said that they were painting old tyres. ``Many complain that the tyres look old, so we just paint them black,'' said a youngster employed there.
Imtiazbhai, the owner of the shop, said vehicles in foreign countries are allowed to speed up to 100 km per hour and when the tyres become slightly old, they are discarded. ``Here in India, anything works and thus they are becoming more and more popular,'' he said.
However, traders cautioned that engraving on radial tyres causes them to tear when speeds increase, often resulting in accidents. They said engraving is quite different from retreading, which involves adding extra rubber on old tyres and costs between Rs 200 and Rs 2,000 for scooter tyres to truck tyres.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner T G Jhalavadia, who is in charge of octroi, said whether the tyres are new or old, octroi is charged when they are brought into the city. ``The rates for old tyres may be nominal, but octroi is being charged,'' he stated.