Pirelli, the official tyre supplier for the Formula One world championship, plans to source Indian made tubeless tyres as it faces capacity shortages at its manufacturing plants, sources said. The euro 4.8-billion Italian company is in talks with Kolkata based Birla Tyres and some other manufacturers for its global manufacturing requirements, they added.
The Milan-based company, however, denied any such move. “Pirelli is at present not evaluating any investment or any off take in India.” But people close to the development said Pirelli is looking at small quantities but quality tyres from Indian manufacturers, with the aim to meet its commitment in the developed markets in Europe and the American continent.
“The company is looking at options to source tyres for overseas market under its own brand provided Indian manufacturer’s confirm to its global quality standards,” a senior industry executive said, adding, “Pirelli was primarily looking for bigger-size tubeless tyres for Europe and other developed markets.” Pirelli will initially source tyres for its global distribution network across 160 countries, they said.
The company had sold technology to Birla Tyres when it started India operations in 1989. Common technology is the primary reason for Pirelli's leaning towards Birla Tyres, another industry executive said.
If the talks fructify, Pirelli will become the fifth multinational tyre maker after Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental to enter India.
Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental, which together account for a large chunk of the $130 billion global tyre industry's turnover, have manufacturing and marketing operations in India.
Pirelli is the world’s fifth-largest tyre maker by sales. It produces 80 million car tyres and 8 million units for industrial use at its 19 plants across four continents.