Paolo Benea
CEO
Pirelli México
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Pirelli Expands R&D Operations in Mexico

By Antonio Gozain | Mon, 07/25/2022 - 11:00

Q: After 150 years of experience, how has Pirelli established itself as the market leader in the premium segment and how does it differentiate from other companies in the same segment?

A: Pirelli has been prepared for change during these 150 years thanks to the strength of its entrepreneurial culture and its ability to remain innovative. These strengths allowed us to reach the 150-year milestone with an established brand around the world. Today, Pirelli is a leader in the Premium and Prestige segment and has 18 factories spread over 12 countries, including one in Silao, Guanajuato.

Pirelli has a deep commitment with R&D, in which it invests about 6 percent of the revenue from high-value products.

Q: How does Pirelli innovate in tires for the future of mobility?

A: Innovation has always been Pirelli's core value. The company has amassed more than 6,700 patents over its 150-year history, ranging from coatings for velocipedes to tires for supercars, from self-repair and noise-canceling systems to the latest cybernetic tire technologies.

Pirelli Cyber ​​Tire communicates with the vehicle's electronics through sensors placed in each tire, providing the car and driver information about the status of the tires. Since the tire is the only part of the car that touches the ground, we collect valuable and unique data. Thanks to advanced data processing and artificial intelligence, we can enable innovative features to make cars safer and improve their performance.

Q: How is Pirelli advancing its sustainability efforts globally?

A: Pirelli R&D produces increasingly sustainable products using new materials and innovative processes. The company has set itself the goal of using more than 40 percent renewable materials, over 3 percent recycled materials and less than 40 percent fossil-derived materials in new product lines by 2025.

By 2030, Pirelli will increase its use of renewable materials by over 60 percent and of recycled materials by 7 percent and reduce fossil-derived materials to less than 30 percent. The targets are ambitious considering that today’s tires, on which Pirelli is entirely focused, are made with an average percentage of less than 20 percent renewable and recycled materials.

Q: How has Pirelli confirmed its position as a global sustainability leader?

A: Thanks to its commitment to sustainability, Pirelli maintained its position as a world leader in the fight against climate change. The company obtained a position in the Climate A 2021 list created by the non-profit CDP, an international NGO that collects and disseminates information about environmental issues. Pirelli has many sustainable projects such as the use of silica derived from rice husks.

Pirelli also obtained the “S&P Global Gold Class” recognition, a ranking that is  compiled yearly based on the S&P Global Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Corporate Sustainability Assessment. In 2021, Pirelli was confirmed as one of the best performing companies in the Automobiles and Components sector in the context of the Dow Jones Sustainability World and Europe indices, with a score of 77 points compared to the sector average of 31.

Q: Regarding its manufacturing operations in Silao, how much has Pirelli invested in Guanajuato and what have been the company's main achievements?

A: Our facilities in Silao, Guanajuato, are one of the most important for the group. The Silao plant is a benchmark in technology and a leader in manufacturing processes in the tire industry. Pirelli has invested US$750 million in Silao, creating over 3,000 direct jobs and providing continuous training both internally and abroad. The plant uses automated machinery and state-of-the-art production processes. It has an annual production capacity for over 6.6 million high-performance and ultra-high-performance tires for premium and prestige cars and EVs, which are sold to the local and North American markets.

Q: How is Pirelli working in the Mexican Original Equipment (OE) segment?

A: Pirelli is a strategic supplier for premium automakers in line with its global strategy. It participates in the OE markets alongside German Premium brands operating in Mexico and manufactures tires for electric and high-performance cars at the Silao plant. In Mexico, Pirelli also participates with other automakers of premium vehicles and EVs, in line with Pirelli's Premium strategy.

Q: Recently, Pirelli announced a US$15 million investment in an R&D center in Guanajuato. What role will this center play in Pirelli's global research strategy?

A: Technological innovation is an essential element of Pirelli's strategy and plays a crucial role in the company's business model. The R&D center in Mexico joins Pirelli’s 13 R&D centers around the world. Pirelli’s R&D center will incorporate state-of-the-art technology to produce tires designed for the mobility of the future, which will be electric, sustainable and connected.

The Silao R&D center will help increase Pirelli's technological and industrial competitiveness throughout the North American region and increase the company's ability to serve and support premium brands, primarily in the US. The center will have an area of ​​6,680 m2, which will be next to the plant’s 200,000 m2. It will adopt the principles of Industry 4.0 and strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the already called "Mentefactura Valley in Guanajuato" (Mindfacturing Valley in Guanajuato).

Q: How does Pirelli work with universities, local governments and stakeholders in the region to guarantee the R&D center’s success?

A: It is important to develop and unite local talent, train it and transfer knowledge to create jobs for specialized professionals. Mexican talent can create new technologies. Pirelli works with local universities, creating links to develop careers related to the specialized profiles that the plant demands.

To meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, human capital must be at the center of any growth and transformation strategy.

 

Pirelli is a multinational tire manufacturer based in Milan with 150 years of experience in the industry. Pirelli has commercial operations in over 160 countries and manufacturing sites across the EU, Asia-Pacific, North America and Latin America, including two plants in Guanajuato.

Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst