About Pirelli Tyres

A brief history

Pirelli, founded in Milan in 1872, is one of the largest global brands in the tyre industry. It is known for its elite production standard, cutting edge technology and desire to continuously innovate, drawing heavily on its Italian roots. Pirelli has 30,000 employees and a turnover of €5 billion in 2016 making them one of the largest tyre manufacturers in the industry and the only global player focused solely on the Consumer tyre market.

Pirelli now concentrates on High Value tyre markets, delivering innovative tyres and developing Specialties and Super Specialties to add to its already comprehensive product portfolio. Constantly striving to meet the expectations of their consumer base, Pirelli continue to expand its product portfolio develop exclusive applications and customisation options.

The company has continued its innovative technological advancements with the launch of Super Specialties such as ‘Pirelli Connesso™’, a system that informs the customer about variables such as; tyre temperature, pressure and wear. Pirelli has also launched the customisable ‘Color Edition’ that allows customers to specify tyres in the colour of their choice. Other specialties include ‘Run Flat™’ and ‘Seal Inside™’ tyre technologies allowing customer to continue driving after a puncture and ‘Pirelli Noise Cancelling System™’ tyres that reduce road noise.

Away from cars and motorcycles, Pirelli has developed two Bicycle tyre product families: ‘P Zero™ Velo’ road racing tyres and ‘Cycl-e’ urban tyres.

Pirelli's dates of historical importance

  • 1872: Giovanni Battista founded a Pirelli partnership ‘G.B. Pirelli & C.’, in Milan. G.B. Pirelli & C. was liquidated and Pirelli & C., a limited shares partnership was established.
  • 1873: First plant for production of rubber items was built in Milan.
  • 1885: Start of rubber band production line for carriages.
  • 1894: Launch of first tyre for velocipedes.
  • 1901: Production of car tyres began which accompanied the growth of Pirelli due to technological development, support of ongoing commitment in racing and a strong geographic expansion.
  • 1902-1928: As part of the company’s expansion, Pirelli opens plants in Barcelona (1902), Southampton (1903), Buenos Aires (1917), Manresa (1924) and Burton on Trent (1928). During these years, Pirelli also continued to increase its efforts in Motor Racing and in 1907, a car fitted with Pirelli tyres won the first Grand Prix of the Automobile Club of France.
  • 1949: Design on the Cinturato tyre began.
  • 1953: First Pirelli radial tyre marketed.
  • 1959: Production of steelcord began at the Figline Valdarno plant.
  • 1960: Opening of Greece based plants in Patrassus and Izmit and Brazilian plant in Gravatai
  • 1963: Acquisition of German Tyre company Veith Gummiwerke AG
  • 1970-79: Technological developments enabled the design of the low tyres which met the power requirements for cars produced by the major international car manufacturers. During this decade Pirelli launched the Cinturato P6, P7 and P8.
  • 1980-89: Further technological innovation aided introduction of first motorcycle radial tyre. Geographical expansion continued with opening of Brazilian plants at Sumarè (1984) and Feira de Santana (1986) as well as acquiring Metzeler Kaotscuck AG in the same year. In 1988, Pirelli acquired Armstrong Tyre Company, the first of many in the US.
  • 1999: Pirelli acquired Alexandra Tire Company, an Egyptian Pirelli technology licensee and radial tyre manufacturer for trucks and buses
  • 2001: Pirelli started producing with their MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) technology which substantially changed their tyre building process.
  • 2003: CCM-based (Continuous Compound Mixing) technology room was introduced to test innovative mixes and materials.
  • 2004: Pirelli becomes the exclusive tyre supplier for the Superbike World Championship.
  • 2005: Pirelli opened first Chinese tyre plant, in the Shandong province.
  • 2009: Cinturato P7 was introduced, the first high-performance tyre based on a ‘green philosophy’.
  • 2010: Pirelli split from the Group of Pirelli & C. Real Estate to become a “pure tyre company” and the establish the Pirelli Foundation to safeguard Pirelli’s historical heritage and promote entrepreneurial culture.
  • 2017: After the separation from its industrial business, Pirelli became a ‘pure consumer tyre company’, the only one in the industry to be entirely focused on car and moto tyres.