Pirelli sees op­por­tu­ni­ties in Chi­nese mar­ket

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By QI­UQUAN­LIN in Shang­hai qi­uquan­lin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pirelli & C SpA, one of the world’s top five tire mak­ers, is look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to work with Chi­nese home­grown au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­vide tailored prod­ucts, amid boom­ing de­mand for high-end SUVs and elec­tric cars, said a se­nior com­pany man­ager.

“It is very im­por­tant to work with lo­cal car play­ers — that is a tra­di­tional busi­ness model for Pirelli,” said Gre­go­rio Borgo, di­rec­tor of gen­eral oper­a­tions of Pirelli.

Cit­ing the suc­cess of work­ing with Fiat in Italy and Ford Mo­tor Co in theUnited States, Borgo said Pirelli needed to lo­cal­ize its strat­egy, fo­cus­ing on the boom­ing the SUV and elec­tric-ve­hi­cle sec­tors in China.

“De­mand for SUVs and elec­tric cars in China is grow­ing very fast, and they are both good in qual­ity and tech­nol­ogy,” said Borgo.

Sales of Chi­nese self-de­vel­oped SUVs in­creased 58 per­cent year-on-year in the first quar­ter of 2016, ac­cord­ing to the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers.

“I know there have been a lot of beau­ti­ful SUVs and elec­tric cars de­vel­oped in China in re­cent years. We need to pro­vide bet­ter tires for them,” said Borgo.

Borgo said China’s au­to­mo­tive mar­ket is in volatil­ity, but de­mand for pre­mium cars is still grow­ing rapidly.

Ac­cord­ing to Borgo, the Chi­nese mar­ket for pres­tige cars in­clud­ing Porsche, Fer­rali and Lam­borgh­ini, which are part­ners of Pirelli, grewby 26 per­cent year-on-year in 2015.

Also, sales of pre­mium cars in China, in­clud­ing BMW, Audi, Volvo and MercedesBenz, grew 7.5 per­cent yearon-year in 2015, ac­cord­ing to Borgo.

“So, we are still ex­pect­ing rapid growth in the Chi­nese tire mar­ket due to the grow­ing de­mand for lux­ury cars,” said Borgo.

Borgo made the re­marks af­ter Pirelli launched its lat­est P Zero tire in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion in Shang­hai on Tues­day.

Also, Pirelli, the of­fi­cial For­mula One tire sup­plier, launched a new vari­ant — Dragon Sport — to ad­dress the lo­cal needs in the Asian mar­ket.

The Dragon Sport tire, a prod­uct fully de­vel­oped and man­u­fac­tured in Pirelli’s Yanzhou plant in Shan­dong prov­ince, is the com­pany’s an­swer to the grow­ing needs of brand sen­si­tive own­ers of midrange class and syn­er­gic ve­hi­cles, said Borgo.

Guiseppe Cat­ta­neo, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Pirelli Asia-Pa­cific, said the com­pany would ex­pand its re­tail net­work con­sid­er­ably to take ad­van­tage of the grow­ing de­mand for pri­vately owned cars.

“The tire re­place­ment mar­ket in­China has not been fully ex­plored yet. This is both a chal­lenge and an op­por­tu­nity for Pirelli,” he said.

China Na­tional Chem­i­cal Corp’s ac­qui­si­tion of a con­trol­ling stake in Pirelli, which was an­nounced about a year ago, would cer­tainly push for­ward the de­vel­op­ment of its busi­ness in China, said Cat­ta­neo.

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