Pirelli posted sales last year in North America of $960 million, or 12 percent of Pirelli & C. S.p.A.'s global revenue. This was up from 11 percent in fiscal 2013, according to Pirelli data, which represents sales growth of roughly 8 percent.
- This story first appeared in the April 13 print edition of Tire Business.
The Silao plant has been ramping up production steadily, he said, increasing the number of units produced by 1 million over its 2014 annual rate. Next year the plant will increase its annual output by another 1 million units, he said.
Nearly all the units produced are shipped to the U.S. and Canada, he added, split 50/50 OEM/replacement market. He noted that the plant is receiving increased orders from car makers that prefer the Silao plant's modern equipment and proximity to the U.S.
But boosting output won't be enough. Mr. Dinelli admitted the company also needs to expand its range of products and vehicle applications — particularly for light trucks, and especially for all-terrain use.
“Our range is not so deep on different sizes,” he said. “To increase the breadth of our range, we need to develop more,…we need more products in the American market.”
Since Pirelli's share of the North American market is small, “our biggest effort will be to grow our share of customers.” Mr. Dinelli acknowledged the company needs more significant growth of product range.
“If we are missing segments, we can't grow our customer accounts.”
He said Pirelli is focusing on product development of all-terrain tires for off-road use and plans to launch applicable tires in mid-2016. “That should give us a big boost,” he said.
The company's focus now is promoting its new Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus, a tire developed specifically for the U.S. market. The company's biggest challenge, he said, is to increase sales of that tire in the second half of the year.