BARCELONA, Spain (March 23, 2001) — Pirelli S.p.A. has selected Rome, Ga., as the first U.S. location for a MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) plant, Francesco Gori, the group´s worldwide marketing manager for tires, has confirmed.
Pirelli also plans to establish a MIRS unit in Asia "at some stage," Mr. Gori said in Barcelona during the launch of two new high performance tires. The company already operates a MIRS plant in Milan, Italy, and is outfitting its Breuberg, Germany, and Burton-on-Trent, England, plants with the new system as well.
Mr. Gori did not disclose a timetable for building the MIRS plant in the U.S. In the past, the company has repeatedly said it would make a decision based on the status of original equipment contracts for U.S.-built models.
Earlier this year, the tire maker´s Pirelli Tire North America unit closed its last tire factory in North America, in Hanford, Calif., after being unable to resolve issues related to high operating costs. On Jan. 3, Pirelli officials had begun informing the plant´s 500 salaried and hourly employees of its decision to immediately shutter the facility, which had a daily production capacity of 14,000 units but — by the time it closed — was averaging about 9,500-10,000 tires, a Pirelli spokesman told Tire Business.
The new U.S. plant will be one of 10 MIRS-based production sites Pirelli has stated it will build in the next few years, at a cost of nearly $500 million. Each plant will be capable of about 1 million tires a year, primarily of the high performance variety.
Pirelli executives were in Spain to launch the latest incarnations of the company´s P6 and P7 tires. Global replacement sales of H- and V/Z-rated tires should reach 150 million units in 2003, from about 130 million units this year, according to company estimates.
Pirelli´s new P7 is aimed at the sporty and luxury end of the market, while the P6 addresses a trend to high-performance estate cars in the family car market, the company said.