Sustainability, he said, is not just a buzzword. He said the notion is embedded in the company’s DNA and remains one of its core principals.
In mid-May, Pirelli disclosed it would be the first company to produce a range of tires certified under Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) guidelines covering sustainable production methods.
The FSC-certified tires, versions of the Pirelli P Zero high-performance range, will be used as a fitment for the plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X5 xDrive 45e sport-activity vehicle. The tires contain FSC-certified natural rubber and rayon.
FSC certification confirms NR plantations are managed to preserve biological diversity while benefiting the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring economic viability, Pirelli said.
BMW North America will use the FSC-certified P Zeros in size 275/35 R22 for the front axle and 315/30 R22 size for the rear.
Mr. Berardi said he recently witnessed the tires being manufactured at Pirelli’s U.S. factory in Rome.
“When you believe in something so strongly, then it becomes easier to translate to the customers,” Mr. Berardi said. “Customers still aren’t that open to sustainability, but it is changing as we speak. Sustainability is gaining ground as a topic of conversation, buying decisions, purchasing decisions.”
In early April, Pirelli unveiled a two-phase plan that calls for investments of nearly $2.4 billion in capacity and digitalization through 2025. The company expects it to generate sales growth of nearly 9% a year.
During Phase 1, Pirelli intends to invest up to $870 million, equal to roughly 7.5% of total revenues, focusing on technological upgrade, mix improvement, productivity and optimization of industrial efficiencies.
In the second phase, it will invest $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion for both “constant technological upgrade” as well as capacity upgrade for “high value” tires, in particular in countries with lower production costs.
Mr. Berardi said sales have rebounded in the first quarter, above pre-pandemic 2019 levels. He said supply remains steady, buoyed not only by the tire maker’s facility in Georgia but also its plant in Silao, Mexico.
Still, he said, the current market presents a significant challenge.
“We went with very, very low demand, and all of a sudden the market recovered very, very fast,” Mr. Berardi said. “These swings, in an industry like ours, are very difficult to control and manage. On top of that, raw material (prices) increased, transportation and logistics increased, container problems … it’s the perfect storm: More costs, less availability of product, more demanding customers.
“It has not been an easy journey, but we are trying to manage our best.”
Pirelli North America, he said, wants dealers to know that Pirelli continues to make “great products for great cars.”
He said the knowledge the company has gained as partners with premium vehicle manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati extends to its work for other vehicles.
“We have products for all needs, and we have products for all types of customers,” Mr. Berardi said. “We want Pirelli to become not just a high-value Italian brand, but we want Pirelli to become a solid brand in the U.S., a brand that is investing in the future.”
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