ROME, Ga. — Pirelli North America has launched an associate dealer program, the Pirelli Performance Program, that the tire maker said offers independent tire dealers the opportunity to earn financial incentives based on eligible Pirelli tires sold at retail outlets.
The program — which replaces the tire maker's decade-old FasTrack associate dealer program — has rolled out in California with a nationwide coverage to follow.
Three of the top U.S. tire wholesalers — American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD), U.S. AutoForce and Turbo Wholesale Tires — distributors that Pirelli said are known for their "expansive networks and swift delivery capabilities, ensuring widespread coverage and prompt service." have agreed to support the program.
The announcement comes three months after Claudio Zanardo, president and CEO of Pirelli Tire North America, told Tire Business about plans for the program during the recent launch of its P Zero AS Plus 3, an ultra-high performance all-season tire designed specifically for the North American consumer.
Pirelli said the program offers access to "premium experiences," as well as marketing support for qualified dealers.
Zanardo said earlier that the program replaces the tire maker's FasTrack associate dealer program, but with "specific features really designed for the needs of today, not the needs of three or four or five years ago. This is our new way to talk with dealers, to present and go to the market together."
Zanardo said the new program offers dealers the opportunity to grow their business and "complements our increased investment in the North American market and is an additional proof of our commitment to the region."
Zanardo said the the Milan, Italy-based tire maker wants "to approach this market with a customer-centric philosophy. We have products that are specifically designed to meet the needs of North American customers, and we are confident that this program will further contribute to our growth and penetration in the market."
The program reflects Pirelli's "perfect-fit philosophy," the company said, focusing on high-value creation and optimizing dealers' performance with a suite of information to educate customers about Pirelli's products and services.
The tire maker has been consistent in its message over the last few years that North America is a primary growth market.
North America represents 24% of parent Pirelli & C. S.p.A.'s global sales. Pirelli generated $1.67 billion in sales last year in North America, up 39% over 2021.
To bolster North America growth, Pirelli pledged $165 million in investments over the last two years for its plant in Silao, Mexico, including $113 million last October primarily to boost capacity for larger-rim-diameter tires and tires for EVs that will be sold in the U.S.
The upgrade will increase annual production by more than 1 million tires, Pirelli said, to 8.5 million units and create 400 new jobs by the time it's completed in 2024-25. The plant's size will grow 8.3% to 2.24 million square feet and to 3,200 workers at full capacity.
Another $15 million was budgeted for a new research and development facility, which will be housed in a 71,900-sq.-ft. expansion of the factory premises slated to be operational by year-end.