If someone told the Pirelli family in 1872 that in 140 years they would have a factory in Rome they might have believed you. If you told them that the particular city of Rome was in Georgia, USA and that Pirelli would grow to be the fifth largest tire manufacturer in the world in terms of sales, be present in over 160 countries, and operate 22 factories on four continents with over 36,000 employees they may have thought their legs were being lengthened.
Over 140 years, Pirelli has become the leading producer of premium tires due in part to its commitment to research and development, for which it spends an astronomical 3% of total revenues (just 5.6 billion euros in 2011) and its motorsport activities.
The R&D commitment alone is among the highest levels in the tire industry and is aimed at constant improvement in performance, safety and environmental impact. These values are clearly evident at Pirelli’s North American headquarters in Rome, Georgia, where a team of 250 employees have worked together to produce 3 million tires in the ten years the 400,000 square foot, 127 acre proprietary Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) facility has been open in Rome, Georgia.
Pirelli’s Georgia HQ is apropos, considering that back in 1907 Pirelli got its auspicious start in motorsport during the Great Race in New York City. Pirelli has a special place in its heart for America, and has worked tirelessly for well over a century to bring Americans the best in premium fitments and motorsport excitement. These days, Pirelli is the exclusive supplier of the Superbike world championship, many single marque championships around the world, and the sole supplier for the Formula 1 World Championship.
Ten years after Pirelli’s new HQ was founded, Rome has expanded it role to be HQ of Pirelli’s NAFTA Region that now includes Mexican operations. Led by region Chairman and CEO Paolo Ferrari, Pirelli NAFTA operates one of five R&D centers Pirelli has around the world, and employs over 250 people in corporate, production and engineering roles. “The operation we have here in Rome is a key part of our premium and original equipment strategy,” Ferrari said. “Looking forward it provides us the flexibility to be responsive to customer needs and produce short runs with high quality and uniformity. This capability is key to being able to secure prestige fitments with top level car manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Jeep, and Chevrolet to name a few all served from Rome. We’ve done great things here in Rome and I look forward to continuing that tradition.”
Pirelli commemorated its 10-year anniversary by inaugurating an exhibit at the Rome Area History Museum that includes a permanent installation showcasing the first tire produced at the facility. Local dignitaries were on hand to help celebrate the occasion. Pirelli plans to maintain an active presence in the community in initiatives that are closely tied to education and environmental awareness as delineated by its corporate social responsibility charter.
“I am truly excited about celebrating Pirelli Tire North America’s 10th Anniversary in Rome, Georgia,” said Chairperson of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, Angie Lewis, President/CEO, Citizens First Bank, a division of Synovus Banks. “They continue to be a great asset to this community and a great partner. I look forward to their continued growth and prosperity in Rome and Floyd County.”
The celebration was capped by a tour of Pirelli’s Rome campus hosted by Mr. Ferrari for United States Senator Johnny Isakson and local officials. “Since Pirelli first announced its decision to locate its North American headquarters in Rome, Georgia, [it has] invested continuously in the Rome plant. Additionally, [its] strong leadership team and committed employees have had an even greater impact on the local community as well as the state. I again applaud Pirelli Tire North America on [its] decision to locate in Rome, Ga., congratulate it on 10 years of continued success and wish many more years of great productivity,” commented Senator Isakson.