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MRF (Madras Rubber Factory) is India’s No.1 tyre manufacturing company. It was started in the year 1946 by K M Mammen Mappillai as a small toy balloon unit. Much later in November 1960 it ventured into manufacturing of tyres. The company entered into a technical collaboration with Tire & Rubber company, USA.
In 1964 MRF established an overseas office at Beirut, Lebanon to tap the export market. This was amongst India’s very first efforts on tyre exports. In 1989 the company collaborated with US–based Hasbro International, the world’s largest toy maker and launched Funskool India. In the same year it entered into a pact with Vapocure of Australia to manufacture polyurethane paint formulations and with Pirelli for Muscleflex conveyor and elevator belting.
Currently MRF exports tyres to over 65 countries including America, Europe, Middle East, Japan, and the Pacific region. It presently has overseas offices in Dubai, Vietnam and Australia.
Products of the company
- Tyres – It manufactures various tyres for passenger cars, two–wheelers, trucks, buses, tractors, light commercial vehicles and off–the–road tyres.
- Conveyor Belting – It manufactures its Muscleflex brand of conveyor belting at one of the most advanced state–of–the–art facilities in India. Incorporating the latest manufacturing techniques in processes beginning with mixing, calendaring and the like to manufacturing of the finished products, all of which is in–house, Muscleflex –conveyor belting has gained rapid acceptance in markets worldwide.
- Pretreads – It is the most advanced precured retreading system in India. MRF forayed into retreading as far back as 1970. Today, MRF has perfected the art of recured retreading with its extensive knowledge in tyres and rubber.
- It was awarded as Most Trusted Tyre Company in India by TNS 2006 global CSR study.
- The company won the J D Power Asia Pacific award for customer satisfaction seven times.
- MRF was honoured with CAPEXIL award as acknowledgement for its export performance.
- 2013 Won the JD power award for the 10th time.
- 1946 – A young entrepreneur, K M Mammen Mappillai, opened a small toy balloon manufacturing unit in a shed at Tiruvottiyur, Madras (now Chennai).
- 1949 – Although the factory was just a small shed without any machines, a variety of products, ranging from balloons and latex–cast squeaking toys to industrial gloves and contraceptives, were produced.
- 1949 – During this time, MRF established its first office at 334, Thambu Chetty Street, Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu, India.
- 1952 – MRF ventured into the manufacture of tread rubber. And with that, the first machine, a rubber mill, was installed at the factory. This step into tread–rubber manufacture was later to catapult MRF into a league that few had imagined possible.
- 1956 – The quality of the product manufactured was of such a high standard that by the close of 1956, MRF had become the market leader with a 50% share of the tread–rubber market in India. So effective was MRF's hold on the market, that the large multinationals had no other option but to gradually withdraw from the tread rubber business in India.
- 1961 – With the success achieved in tread rubber, MRF entered into the manufacture of tyres. MRF established a technical collaboration with the Mansfield Tire & Rubber Company of USA. Around the same time, it also became a public company.
- 1961 – It set up a pilot plant for tyre manufacture at Tiruvottiyur, Madras (now Chennai). The late chief minister of Madras K Kamaraj released the first tyre from the tyre plant.
- 1963 – On June 12, 1963, India's first prime minister, late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone for the Rubber Research Centre at Tiruvottiyur to commemorate the inauguration of the Tiruvottiyur factory.
- 1964 – With the commissioning of the main plant in 1964, MRF also made progress in the export of tyres. An overseas office at Beirut (Lebanon) was established to develop the export market and it was amongst India's very first efforts on tyre exports. This year also marked the birth of the now famous MRF Muscleman.
- 1967 – MRF became the first Indian company to export tyres to the US –– the very birthplace of tyre technology.
- 1970 – MRF inaugurates its Kottayam unit.
- 1971 – MRF opens its factory in Goa.
- 1972 – MRF's Arakkonam plant is inaugurated.
- 1973 – MRF scored a major breakthrough by being among the very first in India to manufacture and market nylon passenger tyres commercially.
- 1978 – MRF developed 'MRF Superlug–78', a sturdy tyre for heavy–duty trucks. The tyre was a significant improvement over its existing products and went on to become the country's largest selling truck tyre in later years.
- 1979 – MRF's turnover crossed Rs 1 billion.
- 1980 – MRF entered into a technical collaboration with the B F Goodrich Tyre Company of USA, which was involved with the development of tyres for the NASA space–shuttle. With this began a significant exercise in quality improvement and new product development.
- 1984 – Sales crossed Rs 2 billion.
- 1984 – MRF tyres were the first tyres selected for fitment onto the Maruti Suzuki 800 – India's first small, modern car.
- 1985 – MRF Nylogrip tyres for two–wheeler vehicles were launched.
- 1986 – MRF was selected by the National Institution of Quality Assurance for its most prestigious award. Pitted against 20 tyre companies worldwide, MRF also won 6 quality improvement awards instituted by the B F Goodrich Tyre Company from USA.
- 1987 – MRF crossed the Rs 3 billion mark and also became the No. 1 tyre company in India. MRF Legend, the premium nylon car tyre was introduced.
- 1988 – The MRF Pace Foundation was set up with international pace bowler, Dennis Lillee as its director. Not long thereafter, pace bowlers trained at the Foundation were selected for the Indian cricket team.
- 1989 – MRF was the clear market leader in every tyre segment. Once again, in recognition of excellence, MRF was awarded the Visvesvaraya Award for the Best Business House in South India.
- 1989 – MRF collaborated with Hasbro International USA, the world's largest toy maker and launched Funskool India. The company also entered into collaborations with Vapocure, Australia to manufacture polyurethane paint formulations and with Pirelli for Muscleflex conveyor and elevator belting.
- 1989 – MRF also opened the MRF Tyredrome, India's first tyre company–owned wheel care complex at Chennai.
- 1990 – MRF brought the 6th World Cup Boxing Championship to Mumbai – the first of its kind with 39 countries participating.
- 1993 – K M Mammen Mappillai was awarded the Padmashri Award of National Recognition for his contribution to industry – the only industrialist from South India to be accorded this honour until that time.
- 1993 – MRF became the first tyre company in India to cross the Rs 10 billion mark.
- 1993 – In 1993 and 1995, the company was voted by the Far Eastern Economic Review as one of the ten leading corporate groups in India and a leader in Asia. During the same time MRF was selected as one of India's most admired marketing companies by the readers of the A & M magazine.
- 1995 – The company's turnover crossed Rs 15 billion. MRF was chosen for fitment on the Daewoo Cielo.
- 1996 – A special factory dedicated entirely to the manufacture of radials was started at Pondicherry.
- 1996 – MRF Tyres were also chosen for fitment on the Ford Escort, Opel Astra and Fiat Uno, further proof of its superior quality.
- 1997 – MRF launches its first ever F3 car.
- 1998 – MRF launches its Super Lug tyre for trucks.
- 2000 – MRF launched the Smile campaign on Indian roads and also Launched ZVTS tyres for passenger cars.
- 2001 – The MRF rally team wins the APRC rally.
- 2002 – The MRF Nylogrip Zapper for two–wheelers is launched.
- 2002 – MRF wins the JD Power award.
- 2003 – MRF registers its second APRC victory.
- 2004 – MRF's turnover crossed INR 30 billion mark.
- 2005 – MRF wins its third APRC rally.
- 2006 – MRF's turnover crosses the Rs 5000 crore mark.
- 2007 – Australian PM visits the MRF Pace Foundation.
- 2007 – MRF launches the Super Lug 505 – A premium mileage, rear fitment truck tyre for national highway operations on rated roads and also launched the Super Lug FS which many users claim to have provided them fuel savings.
- 2009 – Tyre manufacturing major MRF has launched a new series of tyres under the brand ‘Wanderer’.