MERLO, Argentina — Pirelli C. & S.p.A. has added motorcycle tire production capacity at its 60-year-old plant in Merlo, becoming the first local manufacturer of this segment in the country.
In a ceremony to celebrate 111 years of a presence in Argentina, Pirelli said it is investing $10 million in the plant this year, about half of that earmarked for the motorcycle tire capacity.
The expansion project is in line with Pirelli's industrial plan unveiled earlier this year; production of two-wheeler tires is expected to be 450,000 units per year.
According to Pirelli, demand for motorcycle tires in Argentina stands at 1.2 million units per year and the Italian company intends to capture 80% of that market in the future. The project also foresees exporting tires to select markets throughout South America.
Pirelli said its investments at the Merlo site over the past 12 months had created 300 jobs, of which 70 were directly linked to the motorcycle production lines. Overall the plant employs 1,400, Pirelli added.
Pirelli Argentina was born 111 years ago on the occasion of the 1910 Buenos Aires Exhibition and initially operated in the marketing of rubber items produced in Milan. The company started production of tires at the Merlo plant in 1951.
According to Tire Business' 2020 Global Tire Report, capacity at the Merlo plant for passenger and light truck tires is 4 million units a year.
Merlo becomes Pirelli's fourth production site for motorcycle tires. The others are in Campinas, Brazil;'Breuberg, Germany; and Subang, Indonesia.
Pirelli consolidated motorcycle tire production in Brazil two year ago at the Campinas factory, a move that was tied to the ceding of control of a manufacturing complex in Gravatai to Prometeon Tyre.