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Cooper and Pirelli restructure partnership

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The three-year alliance between Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Pirelli SpA in the United States will be restructured beginning July 1 so they can pursue separate brand strategies.

Both Richard Stephens, Cooper Tire's president, and Francesco Gori, Pirelli's general manager, said they are pleased with the changes in their partnership, which, for three years, has been "generally positive." The changes include the following:

* Pirelli will resume responsibility for the sales and customer service for the Pirelli brand in the U.S.

* Cooper will continue to manufacture selected lines of Pirelli products for sale in the U.S., and manage domestic logistics support for Pirelli.

* Both companies will investigate the possibility of Pirelli's international group supplementing Cooper's performance tire product offering by manufacturing selected ultra-high performance sizes or lines.

"The transition for existing Pirelli dealers will be handled with a minimum of change or disruption so that customer service will not be affected," said the companies in a joint press release.

The companies will continue to partner "in technical and related matters."

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