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Pirelli to strengthen partnerships with auto makers

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The Ford SRT Viper features Pirelli P Zero tires.
The Ford SRT Viper features Pirelli P Zero tires.

ROME, Ga.—Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. unveiled its original equipment strategy for North America at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, as it debuted OE fitments for various auto makers, including Ford, Mercedes, Cadillac and others.

"We have a five-year plan for Pirelli in North America that centers on our partnerships," said David Colletti, Pirelli senior director of original equipment for the NAFTA region.

That plan, Colletti said, is to build relationships with European and American car companies who have a presence in North America and maintain diversity among those car makers.

Pirelli illustrated those relationships at the auto show. The Pirelli P Zero was fitted on the BMW 7 series; BMW X5; Mini Cooper Paceman; Bentley Continental GT; Audi R8, A6, RS7 and A8; Mercedes E63 and E-Class Coupe (P Zero Nero A/S); Cadillac CTS V-Sport; Ford Mustang; Lincoln MKZ (P Zero Nero A/S); Dodge Challenger (show car fitment, not OE) and SRT Viper; Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT; Chrysler 300c (show car fitment, not OE); Fiat 500L (show car fitment, not OE); SRT Viper (P Zero Corsa); Toyota FT1 (show car fitment, not OE); and Porsche Targa and Cayman.

"We have strong partnerships with all of these companies. They want to show premium products, and Pirelli is renowned as a premium tire brand," Colletti said.

Colletti said Pirelli has partnerships with other car manufacturers, including Infiniti, Kia and Toyota. "By selecting Pirelli tires," he said, "they want to communicate that premium image about the vehicles to customers."

Other car manufacturers who displayed Pirelli tires at the auto show include Volvo, Jaguar and Range Rover. Pirelli recently announced that the Pirelli P Zero had new fitments on the Ford 2015 Mustang GT.

The Porsche Targa 911 also features Pirelli P Zero tires.
The Porsche Targa 911 also features Pirelli P Zero tires.

Colletti said the relationship with Ford "showcases how closely we work with them to provide the best fitments, both now and into the future."

He said all-season capability continues to be "an important attribute in North America," so Pirelli has been working with OEMs in this segment. Pirelli said its all-season, new original equipment homologations—when a manufacturer has officially approved a Pirelli tire for one of its vehicles—have quadrupled in the North American market over the past three years.

"This is being achieved primarily through our relationships with the car companies, where we're talking with their technical and purchasing teams to ensure we develop and offer the best tires to meet these needs," Colletti said.

He added that the company's in-house research and development facility—in Pirelli's headquarters in Milan, Italy—provides it with "the best new product technology and insights relating to tire materials, compounds and performance attributes" to achieve its goals for a specific car company.

Additionally, the proximity of the Silao factory in Mexico has helped to improve customer service in North America. "Our reaction time is much quicker for any changes in product demand, and our tires have to travel a much shorter distance, making deliveries more convenient and quicker to receive," Colletti said.

The plant helps to reduce travel time and costs. "The Silao plant has enabled us to have additional capacity for tire production, so we have more product available for customers in North America," he said.