A giant in the making
Prometeon Industrial Tires
The PrometeonTyre Group, Pirelli’s new industrial brand takes the first steps on a path towards integration of technologies and strategies between the historic Italian brand and Aeolus. We talked about it with the company’s new operations manager.
Pirelli Industrial’s new blue and grey logo, will feature on the company’s products dedicated to trucks, busses, farming equipment and operating machinery. The iconic elongated “P” will stay in its place but takes on a new white look on a blue background (the famous red and yellow logo will now be featured on car and motorbike tires only) just above the caption “Truck Bus Agro OTR”. At corporate level this means the creation of an all new brand, PrometeonTyre Group, which will absorb all of Pirelli’s industrial activities, to which we have dedicated a box on page xx. This new project is the natural result of the partnership with Aeolus; Pneurama spoke about it with Murilo Fonseca, PrometeonTyre Group’s Chief Operating Officer.
Pirelli and Aeolus will give birth to an Industrial giant, yet times are tough for the transport sector. How will you cope with the challenges of the markets?
The European transport market and the regulations governing it are changing profoundly. But all of our decisions, especially those relating to technological development, are inspired by the specific demands of the business and its evolution. We give our utmost attention to every request, not just those coming from large fleets; we have a truly complete range of products that covers every type of transporter and every possible need, from local distribution to long-distance haulage with highly performing solutions. Our technologies have a direct impact on our tires, as is the case of our compounds and tread patterns, for example. Our products will always provide the basis for our service, and our service is paramount in our relationship with the customers. Furthermore, the right information in choosing the right model as well as the right actions in fleet tire management are essential in the development of this relationship. What is the point of trying to save 3% in fuel consumption by means of a class A tire, if it then runs deflated and increases fuel consumption by 20%. An example of this philosophy is our Triathlon range (see box on page yy), destined to a diversified clientele looking for a versatile product able to cope with any condition and still able to guarantee the highest possible performance. Mid-market customers, searching for a long-term solution, will no doubt appreciate our new Itineris tires, which combine performance and ideal features.
Europe and China, though, often entertain opposing philosophies. How are you going to reconcile production guidelines?
Taking the best of both worlds. Western research and development culture perfectly matches Chinese lean manufacturing ideas: the combination of the two will allow us to keep up with the pace of the market. Not only that: China is very interesting because it represents the perfect meeting-point between European (with its high technology and "green" solutions) and American philosophies, the latter focused more on performance.
Is there still going to be room for retreading technologies?
Absolutely, our Novateck technology for the retreading business represents our key strength in this specific segment.
Will this joint-venture also include a unified distribution network?
Yes, in the long run. Discussions on “how” are currently under way, but we can reasonably imagine Pirelli’s distribution points integrating their offer with Aeolus models. Such a large choice of products will inevitably lead to greater training for the dealers and new commercial strategies, but it still represents a not-to-be-missed opportunity.
An expanding network
With its almost one hundred retail points, the Supertruck network is currently expanding into all the main European markets. Network partners are specialized in truck tires and have been chosen according to their expertise. All personnel attended dedicated training programs and can boast modern, up-to-the-minute marketing tools. Equal attention was paid towards the technology used on workshop equipment.
News on the road and in the field
Itineris, is Pirelli’s new mid-market range; the first model is the T90 for trailers, available in size 385/65 R22.5 and designed for regional use. Based on a new compound as well as a new tread design, the T90 was awarded with an "A" rating for grip in wet conditions. Triathlon’s premium range: the 01 range has been enlarged with the new ST: 01 model for mid and long-haul trailers and semi-trailers. Available with a 22.5" diameter, it offers excellent performance in wet and snowy conditions without losing driving comfort and mileage. Still in the Triathlon range, the new 17.5" drive axle tire (FR: 01, characterized by wear-resistant Bumper technology) and steering axle (FR: 01). On the other hand, farming tires marks a return for the Pirelli brand in Europe. The PHP radials, produced in Santo André, Brazil, and developed in conjunction with Pirelli’s Milan based R&D centre, improves traction, reduces fuel consumption, ensuring a regular wear of the lugs and, consequently, a longer working life. The tread is designed to eject soil, thus guaranteeing safety and stability even on normal roads. The “rubber” between the tread and the casing as well as the new compound offers greater resistance to damage.
A new industrial giant
The PrometeonTyre Group is currently present in 160 countries and employs over 7,000 people in four production plants (two in Brazil, one in Egypt and one in Turkey) and has two R&D centres in Italy and Brazil. 52% of the group is owned by TP Industrial Holding (100% owned by Marco Polo International Italy, Pirelli's controlling shareholder), 38% by Cinda (Chinese international investment firm) and 10% by Aeolus, a Chinese Tire manufacturer very active in the industrial sector.
Aeolus, third time lucky!
China’s leading industrial tire manufacturer and Prometeon Group shareholder, enters the European market with the third generation of its “Neo” range for lorries and buses. Thus the catalogue now covers 67 items ranging between 17.5" and 22.5" in diameter. Compared to the second generation, the Neo series recorded an overall improvement on European ratings in rolling resistance and has 3PMSF marking on different product lines. The focus of the designers was to reduce fleet operating costs.