Pirelli is the world’s fifth largest tyre manufacturer operating out of Milan, Italy and features on the city’s Stock Exchange since the year 1922. The company has established its presence in over 160 nations. They also have about 21 manufacturing plants around the world with about 10,000 retailers and distributors rolling out their products in the market.

Pirelli Tyres have their headquarters in Milan’s Bicoccaa District.

Over the years

Founded by Giovanni Battista Pirelli in the year 1872, Pirelli initially wasn’t a tyre manufacturer. The company used to make scuba diving equipment and specialized in other rubber products. Over the years, Pirelli switched over to the more lucrative businesses of tyre manufacturing and rubber cables which are utilized in the energy and telecommunication sectors.

However in 2005, Pirelli’s cable manufacturing division was acquired by Goldman Sachs, the American investment giants.

Pirelli revolutionized racing tyres in the year 1974. The Lancia Rally team whose new car the ‘Lancia Stratos’ struggled for affinity with the slick and radial tyres of the time had made a request to Pirelli for a new set of tyres which resulted in the birth of the ‘Wide Radial’. Pirelli combined the sidewall of a slick tyre and the structure of a radial to create this new tyre which since then became the widely accepted standard in motor racing and premium sports cars since then.

These tyres were later seen in the Porsche 911 Turbo.

Marketing Exercises

Pirelli publishes an annual calendar featuring prominent actresses and models. These are also shot and conceptualized by some of the world’s best photographers.
The Pirelli International Award is given each year for best international multimedia involving communication of Science & Technology. This competition is conducted over the internet.

Pirelli’s slogan is “Power is nothing without control” and they have numerous print and television campaigns doing the rounds.

Involvement in Sports

Pirelli has extensively associated them with sports sponsorship particularly with football as it is the most popular sport in the world. Their brand name is synonymous with Inter Milan for almost 2 decades now.  Their support to football clubs extend to South American football clubs in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay as well because South America is considered an important market.

Pirelli also picked up the stadium name rights of English football side Burton Albion in 2005. Since 2009, they are the title sponsors of the Chinese Football League.

Pirelli’s Star Driver Program is an initiative taken to encourage and support young rally drivers.

Involvement in Motorsport

Since 2007, Pirelli is the only monopolizing figure in the official World Superbike championship. Pirelli has also been tyre supplier to the World Rally Championships from 2008 until 2010 when Pirelli withdrew to focus on their Formula one commitment.

They are currently the exclusive tyre suppliers in Formula One. However in 2013, this relationship soured as 7 tyres failed in the British Grand Prix. This resulted in a lot of mudslinging between the FIA and Pirelli before the latter conceded their mistake and changed their tyres.