FEIRA DE SANTANA, Brazil — Pirelli & C. S.p.A. has unveiled plans to invest nearly $310 million in Latin America over the next three years, with a focus on digital transformation, smart manufacturing and "big data."
Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera announced the plan while visiting the company's Feira de Santana production site, in Brazil's Bahia state.
Targets also include modernization of local production facilities and increasing the proportion of "high value" production — prestige, premium (rim diameters of 18 inches and above), specialty and "super specialty" tires — in the region to about 20 percent by 2020.
The investments will affect dealers in North America, as well, Pirelli said, since Brazil is one of the company's "integrated sources" of supply for the NAFTA area.
"Pirelli is inaugurating a new phase in Lat-Am with the introduction of new technologies, processes and advanced machinery, which will allow us to meet the growing demand for products with high technological content which we can already see in the market, in particular from car makers with a local presence," Paul Hembery, senior vice president, Pirelli Lat-Am, said.
"Thanks to the digital transformation of the plants and the high end focus, Pirelli can further strengthen its leadership in the Lat-Am market and in Brazil, where for years we have won the 'Top of Mind' prize as the most recognized brand in all sectors," Mr. Hembery said.
Pirelli said it has invested about $300 million in the Latin American region in the last three years, covering a technological upgrade of factories, the adaptation of plants to local premium production and the digitalization of production processes.
Pirelli's revenues in Latin America — which it called "one of the most strategically important macro-areas for the group" — grew 11.1 percent last year to $1.03 billion, representing 17 percent of the group's global revenues.
In 2017, Pirelli transformed its Feira de Santana factory into its first "4.0 technology hub" in Latin America.
"In the same way, also the other factories in the area are being progressively involved in the digitalization process and plant modernization," it added.
According to Mr. Provera, Pirelli is starting a "new phase" in Latin America as it introduces new technology and processes that it will need to meet high technological demand, particularly from car makers with a local presence.