A young entrepreneur, K. M. Mammen Mappillai, opened a small toy balloon-manufacturing unit in a shed at Tiruvottiyur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Although the 'factory' was just a small shed, a variety of products like balloons, latex cast squeaking toys and industrial gloves were manufactured. During this time, MRF established its first office at 334, Thambu Chetty Street, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
MRF ventured into the manufacturing of tread rubber, with the installation of a rubber mill at the factory. This step into tread rubber manufacture was later to catapult the Company into a league that few had dreamt of.
MRF became the only Indian-owned unit to manufacture the superior, extruded, non-blooming and cushion-backed tread rubber that enabled it to compete with the MNC's operating in India during that period.
By the last half of 1956, MRF became the market leader in the tread rubber industry with a whopping 50% market share, leaving no other option for large multinationals, but to withdraw from the tread rubber business in India.
After the huge success in the tread rubber industry, MRF entered into the manufacture of tyres, by establishing technical collaboration with the Mansfield Tire & Rubber Company of, USA. Around the same time, the Company registered as a public company and also set up a pilot tyre manufacturing plant at Tiruvottiyur, Chennai, India.
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 factory.
The main plant was commissioned in 1964; MRF ventures into the export market by setting up an overseas office at Beirut (Lebanon) to develop this market, which was amongst India's very first efforts in export. This year also marked the birth of the now famous 'MRF Muscleman'.
MRF became the first Indian company to export tyres to USA - the birthplace of tyre technology.
MRF made a quantum leap
by becoming one among the very first in India to manufacture and market Nylon tyres.
MRF developed Superlug 78,
a sturdy tyre for heavy-duty trucks. The tyre was a significant improvement over
existing products in this category, and moved on to become India’s largest selling truck tyre in
MRF's turnover crossed 1 billion INR, a landmark that the company had achieved after 33 years.
MRF entered into a technical collaboration with the B. F. Goodrich Tyre Company, USA - a company that was involved in the development of tyres for the NASA space shuttle that paved the way to a significant exercise in new product development and quality improvement.
MRF began a rapid product development programme for new vehicles entering India.
Sales crossed 2 billion Indian Rupees. MRF tyres get selected as the first tyres to be fitted onto India's first modern small car - Maruti Suzuki 800.
MRF introduced Nylogrip tyres for two-wheeler vehicles.
MRF was selected for the most prestigious National Institution of Quality Assurance award and for 6 Quality Improvement Awards instituted by B.F. Goodrich Tyre Company, USA, pitted against 20 tyre companies worldwide.
MRF became the No. 1 tyre company in India, crossing the 3 billion INR mark. The Company introduced Legend, a premium segment nylon car tyre.
The MRF Pace Foundation was set up under the guidance of Australian pace bowling legend, Dennis Lillee. Not long thereafter, pace bowlers trained at the foundation were selected for the Indian Cricket Team.
MRF became the clear market leader in every tyre segment in India. In recognition of its excellence, the Company was awarded the Visvesvaraya Award for the Best Business House in South India and the Economic Times-Harvard Business School Award for Best Corporate Performance.
The company then entered into collaborations with: