MIAMI (Feb. 8, 2000)—Pirelli Tire North America Inc. is launching several new tires this year, including an addition to its ultra-high-performance P Zero line.
The tire maker has developed the P Zero Rosso tire to complete its existing P Zero collection, which includes the P Zero System (Yellow) and its Scorpion Zero, a light truck tire.
Pirelli also introduced the Cinturato P3000 M+S all-season radial, a new Scorpion S/T light truck tire and the Winter Snowsport winter tire during its Jan. 26-28 dealer meeting in Miami.
Of all the products, the P Zero Rosso was by far Pirelli´s most touted tire, as the company reaffirmed its commitment to leading the industry in original equipment high-performance and UHP tires. The tire maker anticipates worldwide UHP tire sales to grow to $5.6 billion by 2003, or 18 percent of the total passenger tire market.
Pirelli´s UHP tire sales reached approximately $945 million in 1999, or 21 percent of the total UHP tire market. The company expects its UHP tire sales to grow to approximately $1.4 billion in 2003, or a market share of 25 percent.
Francesco Gori, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Pirelli S.p.A., noted that UHP tires are the fastest growing segment for both the OE and replacement markets with an expected annual growth rate of 15 to 20 percent. Nearly 300 tire sizes around the world currently are V-or Z-rated, he said.
The P Zero Rosso, which also is available to the replacement market, will fit the Audi TT and Audi RS4 as OE and currently is being tested by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes and Porsche, Pirelli said. Rosso is the Italian word for red, symbolizing the love of driving fast cars, Pirelli said. Hence, the tire´s sidewall features the P Zero brand name in red letters, much like the P Zero System tire has a yellow P Zero name on its sidewall.
The new tire offers sports car owners a more comfortable, quieter ride than the P Zero Yellow and is designed to offer improved aqua-planing resistance, said Paul Hembery, Pirelli´s technical manager in Italy. The car makers asked Pirelli to enhance those features yet maintain the same wet and dry handling capabilities as the P Zero Yellow, Mr. Hembery said.
To achieve those specifications, Pirelli constructed the tire with wider longitudinal grooves to eject water and a multi-pitch pattern that reduces noise, Mr. Hembery said.
The P Zero Rosso also is lighter in weight because its three-strand steel cord is 20 percent lighter, but more resistant, than traditional materials, Pirelli said. The tire is Y-rated for speeds up to 182 mph and is available in two versions—directional and asymmetrical.
Tire dealers and trade journalists attending Pirelli´s meeting got to see the P Zero Rosso up close and personal at the Homestead International Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
At the track, dealers test drove P Zero Rossos on wet and dry pavement and on slalom-style courses to see how well the tire performed during braking and cornering.
Each drive pitted the P Zero Rosso either against P Zero Yellow or against a competitor´s tire, such as the Michelin Pilot Sport and Goodyear Eagle. Dealers got to compare the tire´s performance results on several luxury vehicles—the Mercedes CLK 430, BMW Z3 and 540i, Porsche 996 C4 and Audi TT.
Among its other new tires, Pirelli´s T-rated Cinturato P3000 comes with an 85,000-mile limited tread wear warranty and in 23 sizes. The tire´s treadlife is the result of a synthetic tread compound in combination with a narrower central groove, flatter tread profile and wider arc width, Pirelli said.
The Scorpion S/T has a 50,000-mile limited tread wear warranty and comes in H-, T-, S- and Q-speed ratings. The tire is available in 25 sizes and has gained OE fitments with Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Land Rover, according to Mauro Pessi, vice president of marketing in North America.
Pirelli´s Winter Snowsport, a winter tire launched in Europe six months ago, is now available to North American dealers. It will come in 35 sizes for the H-rated version and 11 sizes for the V-rated version. The tire can fit 15-, 16-, 17- and 18-inch rims.
Pirelli also announced that it would have a Scorpion Zero tire that fits 20-inch rims available for U.S. dealers in June.