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Pirelli Bringing Truck Tires to US

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Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. is bringing a line of truck tires to North America. The tiremaker announced the new tire line and its new business entity, TP Commercial Solutions LLC, during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., on March 31.

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The move to bring Pirelli to the NAFTA region was a corporate decision and was unrelated to the company’s acquisition by ChemChina. 

“The objective is to become present and to be a global leader, with a product range and presence in Tier 1, in all the regions including NAFTA,” Dino Maggioni, CEO Industrial LATAM and NAFTA at Pirelli, told Tire Review.

Currently, the tiremaker offers truck tires in several markets around the world including Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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Tasked with establishing Pirelli’s truck tire business and TP Commercial Solutions in North America is industry veteran Clif Armstrong. Armstrong, hired as president of TP Commercial Solutions LLC,  has more than 20 years of commercial experience and previously worked for Continental’s truck tire division. For now, he will work out of Pirelli’s North American headquarters in Rome, Ga.

Clif Armstrong, president of TP Commercial Solutions LLC.

Clif Armstrong, president of TP Commercial Solutions LLC.

While Pirelli had no physical tires to display at MATS, the tiremaker has more than 1,800 tires on the road in North America in the testing phase. Currently, TP Commercial Solutions is testing six tread designs for both long haul and on-off road tires. Eventually, regional tires will also be tested, Armstong said.

“When Mr. Tronchetti says it’s all about the product, he truly means that. This company is all about product first. We build the image only after the product works,” Armstrong said. “That’s a slower pace. We’re not going to launch a 16-item line tomorrow. It’s going to take time to do this, but we’ll earn our place making sure the product fits this market.”

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With a focus on products, Armstrong’s first hires were two field engineers. The pair are working with more than 40 test fleets to analyze how the tires are performing.

A product decision in the on-off road market is expected to be made soon, Armstrong said.  However, due to a longer testing cycle Armstrong anticipates product decision in the long haul market to not be made until late fall. Armstrong does not expect a serial production tire launch until around the late October, early November timeframe.

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“Entering this market is no easy task, but with the strength of our future product portfolio coupled with the extensive research and development we are devoting to the project, we will provide North American fleets best in class cost performance and services,” he said.

As its business moves forward, Armstrong will being hiring sales personnel and look to partner with dealers in the U.S. to sell and service Pirelli truck tires, he said.

Armstrong estimates the roll out of Pirelli-branded truck tires will take 3-5 years to ramp up in the U.S.

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