KOCAELI, Turkey—Prometeon Tyre Group S.r.l. has opened a research and development center at its truck tire plant in Kocaeli, a facility the commercial-tire-focused company calls a "key milestone" in its global strategy.
Prometeon—the former commercial and industrial tire unit of Pirelli & C. S.p.A.—invested $15 million in the new facility, which the company expects will contribute to developing new technologies capable of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Milan-based Prometeon also expects the center, its third R&D center worldwide, to help achieve lower energy costs through leaner processes.
The R&D staff there will expand to 30, Prometeon said.
Mustafa Varank, Turkey's minister of Industry and Technology of Turkey, was present at the center's opening, along with Prometeon executives including Roberto Righi, deputy general manager; Alexandre Bregantim, global chief technical officer; Chairperson Lale Cander; and the management team of Prometeon Turkey.
In remarks made at the opening, Bregantim noted that the new R&D center "will allow us to achieve our goals, improving our offering of both products and customer services, consolidating our partnerships with OEMs and further raising our quality and efficiency standards."
He added that during the past three years Prometeon has implemented several strategic initiatives that have made the company "healthier, stronger and more resilient in an unprecedented scenario. Strategic interventions at every stage of the company's value chain, a very strong focus on sustainability and human resources have allowed our company to promptly and effectively tackle the pandemic, both financially and commercially.
The Kocaeli plant was opened in 1960 by Pirelli as the first tire factory in Turkey.
Prometeon, the No. 23 tire maker worldwide with fiscal 2020 sales of $1.1 billion, invests 3 percent of revenue annually on R&D. It goes to market using the Pirelli, Anteo, NextRoad and R89 brands.