Revenues of the Consumer line total Euros 2,801 million (-2.1 percent compared to 2007), whereas the Operating Profit from ordinary operations is Euros 139 million, with a ROS of 5 percent, compared to Euros 253 million in 2007, with a ROS of 8.8 percent.
In the Original Equipment channel, the marked reduction in demand in the automotive market began in the second half of the year, whereas the first half was positive in terms of production in Europe and very positive in South America and in the emerging markets, although a negative trend had already been posted in the U.S.A.. This reduction of demand was concentrated in the last quarter, forcing vehicle manufacturers to slow down production considerably in order to reduce stock levels, resulting in a lower demand for tyres (in the fourth quarter, the tyre market was -23% in Europe, - 26% in North America, -26% in Mercosur, with an annual total of -5% in Europe, - 17% in North America and + 8% in Mercosur).
In the Replacement channel, in the fourth quarter, in the presence of a far from brilliant sell-out demand and a delayed start to the winter in Europe, the general financial situation encouraged dealers to reduce their inventories (market in the fourth quarter, -9% in Europe, -17% in North America and -6% in Mercosur). Over the year as a whole, the trend of the market registered a reduction of 5% in Europe, 9% in North America and growth of 4% in Mercosur.
While these market scenarios generated an overall reduction in volumes of 5.8%, Pirelli Tyre focused on the price/mix change, which was a positive figure of 6.5%, confirming organic growth in sales of 0.7%. The negative exchange rate effect of 2.8% generated an overall change in revenues of -2.1%.
In the auto Motorsports segment, in 2008, Pirelli Tyre began to be the exclusive supplier of the prestigious American Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car series and the WRC (World Rally Championship). As far as car racing is concerned, Pirelli made a great contribution to the Grand Am series, which reported improved performances compared to those of the previous supplier. In the international FIA GT championship, Pirelli came second among the teams in the GT2 class (with BMS-Scuderia Italia). The PZero made a name for itself with the Saleen S7-R in Argentina on the new San Luis circuit and excelled in the GT2 class with the Ferrari 430 GTC at the Spa 24 Hours endurance race for the third consecutive year. What’s more, Pirelli was the official racing tyre supplier at the Italian, European and American Ferrari Challenge, at the GT Asian SuperCar Challenge, the French FFSA GT Championship and the Italian GT Championship.
As far as rallies are concerned, the WRC was a showcase for the new exclusive products PZero, Scorpion and Sottozero, made according to specifications established by the FIA and the constructors. On all types of terrain, they demonstrated an excellent level of performance, duration, resistance to punctures and level of integrity, attracting only positive comments from all the drivers participating in the championship. In other rally competitions, Pirelli also did well in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship with C. Crocker driving a Subaru Impreza, came second overall in the Italian Rally Championship and won first place in the N class with P. Andreucci. Pirelli also won victories in the Austrian Championship with R. Baumschlager, the German DRM Championship with H. Gassner, the Swiss Championship with G. Hotz and the independent drivers Italian Rally Championship with L. Cantamessa. Pirelli was also the control tyre supplier for prestigious championships like the British Rally Championship and the Italian IRC.
The year 2008 saw the start of the selection program for the most promising young drivers in the world (5 teams), who, in 2009, will participate in the Pirelli Star Driver project, the races of which will be held concurrently with those of the WRC in Europe.
In addition to its competitive activities, Pirelli also continued to develop its sales and distribution network in new markets such as the Middle East and China.
In the Motorcycle segment, sales increased in 2008, at a higher rate than the market.
In the Replacements channel, sales increased most significantly in the Americas and in Europe.
The sales trend in the Original Equipment channel was positive, especially in South America.
Pirelli was awarded important homologations in 2008: for the Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory fitted with the Diablo Supercorsa SP and the Dorsoduro 750 fitted with the Diablo Corsa III; for the BMW F800GS fitted with the Scorpion Trail; for the Buell Polysses fitted with the Scorpion Sync; for the Ducati 1198 B and S fitted with the Diablo Supercorsa SP and the Street Fighter B and S fitted with the Diablo Corsa III; for the KTM RC8 R fitted with the Diablo Supercorsa SP; for the MV Agusta F4 1078RR fitted with the Diablo Supercorsa SP; for the Triumph New Daytona 675 fitted with the Diablo Supercorsa SP; and for the Piaggio MP3 250 three-wheeler fitted with the GTS 23/ GTS24.
The Metzeler brand was also awarded important homologations: for the BMW F800 R fitted with the Sportec M3 and the K1300 GT fitted with the Roadtec Z6; for the Moto Guzzi Breva 850/1100, the Norge 1200 fitted with the Z6 Interact and the Stelvio 1200 Adventure fitted with the Tourance; for the Triumph New Bonneville fitted with the ME Z4/ME Z2; and for the Yamaha WR250F and the WR450F fitted with the 6 Days Extreme.
Pirelli’s decision to participate in the world of competitive racing has led to some important results, for example the important press acclaim received as a result of its participation in the 2008 World Superbike Championship. This year, Pirelli became the sole supplier of another important championship, the British Superbike Championship. In off-road racing, Pirelli came first in all three classes of the 2008 World Motocross Championship, a result it has achieved five times since 1980, a total of 51 world titles. Under the Metzeler brand, it won two classes of the 2008 World Enduro Championship.
Pirelli’s presence in Road Racing and off-road racing in championships at all levels is the ideal platform for developing new technical solutions and establishing its technological leadership.