With ChemChina’s completing the purchase of Pirelli SpA, the first signs of how Pirelli will be integrated into the ChemChina tire group are emerging. Walking into the ChemChina stand, the first you notice is the Pirelli logo at the head of a list of group-owned tire business, in at least two prominent positions on the large stand.
While for many in Europe the sight of Pirelli alongside Aeolus, Yellow Sea, Double Happiness and Torch may feel a little strange, the obvious implication of ChemChina’s decision to present it this way is that we all need to start getting used to the new reality. Secondly, you can’t ignore that this communicates the underlying intention to integrate Pirelli into the ChemChina group rather than the other way around.
Pirelli and Aeolus aside, Tyres & Accessories took the opportunity to find out a little more about lesser-known brands Double Happiness and Yellow Sea. First off, something that illustrates the wide range of quality within ChemChina’s portfolio of parallel run tire brands: Yellow Sea doesn’t yet have the necessary European tire labeling qualifications and, therefore, cannot export its products to Europe. The technology gap is quite a stark contrast to Pirelli, which is a world-leader when it comes to UHP tires, followed by Aeolus which boasts modern factories and well respected products – especially in the truck and bus sector.
Double Happiness fits somewhere in the middle of this technological continuum – above Yellow Sea, but below Pirelli. Established in 1958, Double Happiness currently employs some 3,000 staff and has capacity to produce some 2.4 million truck/bus, light truck and OTR tires. Current production, according to company representatives in the booth, is around 1.5 million tires. With many Chinese tire manufacturers forced to significantly cut production, this could explain the disparity.
As of October, Double Happiness passed the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment after the firm announced plans to launch a “national test center” project. According to the company, the test center has been set up in accordance with the requirements of the national laboratory accreditation standard. This could be seen as prelude to the brand operating at a more international level.
While things aren’t fixed yet, what is clear is that the ChemChina firms are discussing who will make what brands in future and there is talk of Double Happiness being responsible for the production of Pirelli brand truck tires.
Another part of the ChemChina tire group is Torch. The brand is well-known in some parts of the world for its OTR tire products, and large examples adorn ChemChina’s exhibition stands.
But deciphering the firm’s marketing material is somewhat more difficult. Direct translations from Chinese to English leave much to be desired. No one expects a provincial Chinese tiremaker to have perfectly written materials, but when the brand comes from one of the world’s largest companies, proper English goes without saying.
With you in mind, we read this English translation on the center of one of Torch’s flagship 57-inch OTR radials in the ChemChina stand:
“Pattern and compound characteristics: Designed for heavy dump truck design and development of new type III pattern, a new design of the cooling groove, further reducing heat production, overall optimization tread compound and tire structure, stronger product overall performance. With excellent traction through sex as well as consider the wear resistance, resistance to stung and tear resistance…”
With the purchase of Pirelli, ChemChina is now a global market leader in terms of tires, and it also has a very strong marketing reputation to uphold. Such hackneyed English translations no-longer suffice. But certainly the Pirelli integration will work to clear up these kinds of missteps.