LOS ANGELES—Pirelli Tire North America L.L.C.'s journey to becoming more American will take a decidedly light-truck-oriented turn next year.
Looking to grab a larger share of the light truck/SUV tire market, Pirelli next year will roll out a pair of North American-exclusive aftermarket products—including its first true all-terrain tire—PTNA CEO and Chairman Pierluigi Dinelli said during the recent Los Angeles Auto Show.
The tire maker is targeting a larger market presence in the U.S. West and Midwest as well as the central part of Canada by adding an all-terrain tire. The new tires are the Scorpion A/T Plus and Scorpion Zero A/S Plus, which together will reach roughly 95 percent of Pirelli's targeted market segments, Dinelli said.
While the Scorpion A/T Plus was designed primarily for North American customers, Dinelli said the new product also will be sold throughout the Americas, albeit in smaller sizes—16- and 17-inch rim diameters, mainly, vs. the 18- to 22-inch sizes more prevalent in the U.S. and Canada.
Pirelli will source the new tire lines from a number of plants throughout the Americas, he added.
Overall, Dinelli said, Pirelli believes it has about a 7.5 percent share of the North American consumer performance tire market (18-inch rim diameters and above), with a stronger share in the car segment and lesser share in the light truck/SUV segment.
The new P Zero All Season Plus, designed for a range of sportscars, sports coupes and performance sedans—including American muscle cars—completes a triad of new performance models aimed at specific niche customers.
"We've been under-represented in the all-season market in North America," Dinelli said.
He also noted that Pirelli's P Zero strategy is focused heavily on OEM accounts, especially with the prestige and premium car brands, but that the company is keen to improve its push marketing talents with the new light truck/SUV lines.
The Rome, Ga.-based tire maker recently rolled out at the recent SEMA Show an all-season version of its P Zero ultra-high-performance tire and coupled that with a deal making Pirelli the spec racing tire and presenting sponsor of the Trans Am Championship for the next three years.
Pirelli expects to roll out the Scorpion A/T Plus in the second half of 2017 in a range of 18- to 22-inch sizes, Dinelli said, while the Scorpion Zero A/S Plus should be available by the second quarter in 20 sizes.