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Pirelli gets a grip on Australian sales

Pressure test: Pirelli is focusing on premium and prestige brands in Australia with a broad strategy that looks at suppliers, customers and the company’s brand recognition.

Italian tyre-maker Pirelli wants its low-profile tyres to gain high-profile sales

General News logo21 Mar 2014


GLOBAL tyre giant Pirelli says it wants to almost double the percentage of premium vehicles that wear its low-profile tyres on Australian roads within three years.

The Italian manufacturer is implementing a three-part strategy, which it says focuses on increasing consumer awareness of the brand, attracting more retail partners with new competitive advantages, and boosting overall brand profile with “huge investment” in areas such as Formula 1.

Speaking at the Melbourne Grand Prix, Pirelli told GoAuto a strategy that concentrates on ‘values’ rather figures and targets will secure them at least a 20 per cent share of the local premium and prestige market by 2017.

Australia and Japan are Pirelli’s longest standing Asian markets, but a fluctuating financial climate has required an entirely different approach compared with the booming economic neighbour China.

Despite the difficulties maintaining relatively strong sales in Australia, Pirelli still regards the nation as one to be focused on, with the potential for significant gains over the coming years.

Pirelli Asia Pacific commercial director Marco Solari explained that today’s consumers associate larger diameter wheels and tyres with higher quality products and this is where its focus would be.

“We are seeing/driving a huge turnaround in terms of 18, 19 and 20 inch wheels/tyres. Customers perceive an increase in wheel radius as an increase in quality,” he said.

“In three years we want a minimum of 20 per cent of the market share in 18, 19 and 20 inc.”

Pirelli currently has a share of the premium and prestige market in the “low teens” so growth to 20 per cent and beyond will require a concerted and targeted effort to “reinforce our presence”.

As sole supplier of tyres to the Formula 1 series for the fourth year running, Pirelli is continuing to roll-out some of the promised significant investments to promote its brand.

“In China you can be a lot more creative in your approach. It’s a different environment here - of marketing and ideas development,” said Mr Solari.

“If we spend $1 in China we can be confident to get back $2. In Australia we struggle to get our dollar back.

“Even though Australia is a modern country, it is still a growing country.

There is a high national demand for prestige cars and it is important to have the right customer base.

“Australia is like a little Europe in Asia. We can’t afford to skip a nation like Australia.”

But Mr Solari also explained that succeeding in the Australian environment is not just about winning over the end user.

“We are very selective when choosing potential partners, concentrating on premium and prestige brands.”“If you want to be big in retail here you have to face some big investors”“Building loyalty within the company is also important. We have a young energetic team with almost all our members under the age of 40.

“We have already started seeing our approach of focusing less on figures and more on values is working.

“It's exciting to be here because Asia is the most prominent area for us.”

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