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Pirelli chooses Australia for global conference

Rolling start: Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery (right) launches the 2015 Pirelli motorsport season in Melbourne's CBD last Friday.

Italian tyre giant Pirelli hosts annual motorsport conference in Melbourne

16 Mar 2015

PIRELLI has bucked an annual tradition, choosing to host its annual motorsport conference in Melbourne last week, instead of on home soil in Europe.

The yearly presentation marks both the start of the Italian tyre-maker's racing season and the first race of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, for which Pirelli is the 2015 sole tyre supplier.

In previous years Pirelli hosted the media conference at home, but to forge greater ties between its growing Asia Pacific markets, the 2015 motorsport season preview was brought Down Under.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery presented the conference, which took place on Friday night in Melbourne's CBD, and introduced some of the company's 2015 plans including a recognition of the strong relationship with the Australian market.

At the conclusion of the conference, Mr Hembery told GoAuto that Pirelli regards markets such as China and Australia as key to the success of the Italian brand.

“It was coinciding with the F1 and also we have a very important business down here in the Asia Pacific region, and we wanted the opportunity to talk to a lot of our local businesses,” he said.

“From China down through here, it's a very important aspect of the Pirelli business and we thought why not?“With modern technology we have people listening in all around the world and we thought what a good occasion it would be to go out on some more journeys that we might not be able to attempt if we did the classical thing in Europe.

“We are an international company and we like it here. The wine's better.”

Pirelli Tyres Australia appointed a new managing director in 2013 who introduced an aggressive growth strategy, and following the conference, Andrea Clerici reiterated Mr Hembery's sentiments.

“The European market could have been a more obvious choice being such a long way away from the head office here, but being an important market for the brand we were able to convince our motorsport and PR office to come here thanks to the start of the Formula 1 season,” he said.

“Locally it's a golden opportunity to start getting in touch with the media and start talking to the suppliers face to face.”

At the Grand Prix last year, Pirelli told GoAuto it had implemented a strategy to boost sales in the Australian “premium” 18-inch and larger tyre segment, targeting the popular European import brands.

The plan to increase awareness of Pirelli appears to be paying off with a more than 50 per cent growth in the segment during 2014, and a forecast to exceed the targets set in 2013.

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