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Pirelli targets July 1 for new start in the U.S.

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Pirelli Tire North America (PTNA) has a sales team in place following the announcement that it will resume responsibility for Pirelli brand sales and customer service in the United States on July 1.

For the last three years, Pirelli tires have been sold by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in the U.S. as part of its alliance with Pirelli SpA. But the companies have decided to restructure their alliance, and independently pursue separate brand strategies.

"I already have a sales force, ready to go," says PTNA President Gaetano Mannino. PTNA will divide the U.S. into five regions: Northeast, Southwest, Mid-West, South Central and West.

Through June 30, Pirelli's sales efforts will overlap with Cooper's as their respective sales forces jointly visit dealerships across the country.

The partnership between Pirell and Cooper has been very successful, according to Mannino. In fact, Cooper will continue to manage domestic logistics support for Pirelli.

Cooper also will continue to manufacture selected lines of Pirelli products for sale in the U.S. Mannino says Pirelli may return the favor by making some high performance Cooper brand tires for Cooper.

Despite the restructuring, the companies will continue to share technology.

Within the next two weeks, Pirelli will close its New Haven, Conn., headquarters and move to Rome, Ga., the site of its MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) tire manufacturing facility.

According to Mannino, MIRS will begin manufacturing tires on July 1. The plant also will have the capability to manufacture Pirelli's Eufori run-flat tires.

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