MILAN, Italy (Oct. 3, 2008) — Pirelli & C. S.p.A. plans to boost production capacity at its Rome, Ga., tire plant 20 percent by next year to support growing replacement and original equipment demand for its high-performance tire lines.
Pirelli is budgeting $15 million for the expansion, which involves adding a fifth MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) automated production line at the firm's sole U.S. plant. Capacity at the 8-year-old Rome plant is rated at 1,000 units a day.
Pirelli disclosed the investment in Milan during a visit there by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is on an economic development mission to Europe.
The decision to increase production of high-performance tires in Georgia is part of Pirelli's North American growth strategy. Pirelli said its sales have grown 30 percent in North America in the past three years, buoyed by OE fitments with General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. on their Camaro and Mustang models, respectively, as well as with the transplant operations of Daimler A.G. and BMW A.G.
Pirelli's sales in North America were about $450 million last year. Pirelli Tyre CEO Francesco Gori has stated the company's goal for North America is to hit or exceed $1 billion in sales by 2012.