Pirelli hopes to build off its off-road success

Pirelli Tire North America’s motorcycle division is hoping to use 2008 to build off its recent successes in the off-road market.
Scott Griffin, vice president of Pirelli North America’s motorcycle division, told Powersports Business the tire manufacturer has introduced a new race support vehicle for the Supercross and Outdoor National series. Pirelli also is the exclusive supplier of the Canadian Superbike Championship and the SunTrust MOTO-ST series organized by Grand-Am.
“We are fully committed to supporting Pirelli racers in these markets,” said Griffin, who was hired by Pirelli last year after working previously with Maxxis.
Griffin says Pirelli is keying on its off-road market perhaps more than in the recent past because “we have experienced share growth in this market the past year, and we would like to continue this trend.”
In fact, the company recently said in its third-quarter financial report that it has experienced stronger consumer demand in all of its motorcycle markets in North America. The company says both the Pirelli and Metzeler brands have increased market share in the past year. Overall, the company’s revenue from motorcycle tires is up compared to the year-ago period.
Griffin says the company is in a battle for second place in terms of market share for the off-road market.
“The past few years Pirelli has focused on developing new tires for the on-road and off-road markets,” he said. “You will see evidence of this with new product introductions as the year progresses.”
Pirelli also is battling for second place in market share for its on-road product, notes Griffin.
“We are focusing equally on the street and dirt for 2008 and have high expectations,” he said.
Late last year, the company opened a second factory in the Shandong Province of China, an investment of $100 million. That factory, which has a manufacturing capability of producing 3 million pieces per year, to this point is slated to build tires for its auto market.
— Neil Pascale

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