Pirelli Reports ‘Surge’ in Post-Recession Truck Tyre Demand

With the economic recovery now seemingly underway and truck tyre sales in the UK growing again, demand for Pirelli truck products has reportedly outstripped this increase three-fold. According to the company, Pirelli’s success can be attributed to its focus on the premium market, the launch of two “extremely successful products” during the year and a number of new commercial fleet contracts. But how have these three elements linked together to put Pirelli’s sales so ahead of the market trend?

New commercial fleet clients for the company have led the resurgence in demand for Pirelli truck tyres. One intensive selection process during the first part of this year saw Pirelli pitted against its competitors in a bid to win a major fleet client. Like-for-like trucks were fitted with Pirelli and competitor tyres and were then tested back-to-back for several months. Pirelli reports that its tyres went the distance, proving themselves by delivering consistently high mileage and excellent in-service performance. Finally in May, Pirelli and partner Vaculug subsequently won the new and retread tyre deal with the Malcolm Group, covering 450+ trucks and 1,000 trailers.

This win, combined with other new fleet clients, Countrywide, which distributes farm products, and the Skene Group, which supplies concrete, has given Pirelli Truck a very successful first half of 2010.  Pirelli says it also believes in looking after its existing customer base and is pleased to have has just renewed its contract with Brit European, a client of over 15 years. And these fleet wins reportedly demonstrate the success of Pirelli’s strategy of focusing on premium brands for premium customers.

Pirelli’s place in the UK market

Almost two thirds of the UK truck tyre market is comprised of manufacturers’ premium brands, with the other third being at a lower associate brand level.  Pirelli is fairly unique as it does not actively market an associate brand in the truck segment, with company representatives saying this enables it to focus entirely on its core products, investing a great deal of time and money into research and development of new technologies for the market.  New products, like the FR:01 and TR:01 tyres launched in 2009  have been designed to offer the same high performance, life-cycle and fuel consumption benefits associated with all Pirelli tyres, but present a new concept in medium and long range regional transport – creating better mileage performance and a casing with higher end first life acceptance. The idea is that these advances are the perfect carrot for many UK trucks which work on a combination of main roads and motorways, and then harsher regional routes when reaching their final destination.

Pirelli also manufactures tyres for long haul drivers, who primarily travel on international routes and motorways.  These incorporate a new generation tread pattern and compound, accompanied with a wider belt structure for foot print optimisation, which increases the life-cycle of the tyre. The Amaranto FH88 and TH88 tyres, designed for long haulage use, are said to embody these qualities to provide extended life and maximise the return on the initial investment.

With demands on tyres changing, and value taking precedence over purchase price, fleet managers and tyre dealers are looking to stock and supply truck tyres that literally go the extra mile.  Pirelli representatives say the Italian company’s focus on premium products has helped it to develop new technologies which achieve this, with the knock-on effect being a higher take-up by fleets and dealers.  With the increased vigilance on budgets likely to remain a key consideration for the foreseeable future, Pirelli says it is well placed to offer best value by focusing on premium brands, and investing in research and development for the future.

Looking into 2011, Tyres & Accessories understands that next year will see the launch of new 17.5 and 19.5 inch products designed to help “drive commercial vehicle operators into more prosperous economic environments.”

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