Pirelli’s global vision focuses on manufacturing and marketing premium products. In the United States, the company will concentrate on supplying premium consumer tires through the independent tire dealer channel.
“Our goal is to be a global premium leader,” says Paulo Ferrari, chairman and CEO of Pirelli Tire North America Inc., a subsidiary of Pirelli & Cie SpA.
The new Cinturato P7 All Season Plus tire is a good example of a premium product. Designed for touring and luxury touring cars, it is the company’s first environmentally friendly high-performance tire.
But how does the company define “premium”? According to Tom Gravalos, vice president of motorsports and OE marketing, technology is the key.
“Premium is really about technology — technology that helps a car deliver the best performance possible,” he says. “That means more than just going fast. It’s braking, acceleration, handling in wet and dry, comfort, (low) noise... and at the same time, doing the right things for the environment. That’s a premium product, and it’s not something many can do. It’s a short list.”
At the company’s recent dealer meeting, held in Austin, Texas, during the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race, Pirelli executives told attendees that “premium” can apply to an ultra-high performance tire or a run-flat tire. An H-rated or greater winter tire or SUV tire also can fit into Pirelli’s definition.
Cinturato P7 All Season Plus
“We know how important it is to make products for each market,” says Ferrari. The new Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus was specifically developed for the U.S. market.
Whereas the original Pirelli P7 was a summer tire, the new P7 All Season Plus was developed by Pirelli engineers with the ambitious objective of providing one tire for four seasons with no compromises — and reducing its carbon footprint in the process.
Compared to previous generation Pirelli all-season tires, the new tire is superior in every performance category, from wet and dry handling to snow starting traction. It features the following:
• a 15% reduction in rolling resistance; the result is a 2% to 3% savings in fuel consumption.
• a highly aromatic oil-free compound and 6% less raw materials (mostly from a decrease in rubber use), which support Pirelli’s commitment to the environment.
• an optimized asymmetric tread design, which leads to a 5% reduction in road noise.
• a silica-based tread compound for 47% better mileage.
The Cinturato P7 All Season Plus, which is available in H- or V-rated sizes, is backed by a 70,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. It will be produced at the company’s new Mexican tire plant in Silao, Guanajuato.
The original equipment version, which does not have the “Plus” nomenclature, is produced in Romania, Germany and the U.S. (in Pirelli’s Rome, Ga., plant). Pirelli wants to increase the percentage of premium tires in its global OE sales mix to more than 80% by 2015. ■