The tyre manufacturing industry is a broad one and many companies have been performing tremendously well in this sector. One such tyre giant is Pirelli & C.S.p.A. The Italian manufacturer has achieved various milestones since it was set up.
Pirelli was founded in 1872 by a 24-year-old engineer, Giovanni Battista Pirelli. It is surprising to know that at such a young age, Pirelli already knew that this industry will entirely depend on rubber. The years 1879 and 1886 can be regarded as golden years for the company as two innovations were introduced, one in each of these years.
An insulated Telegraph Cable was invented by Pirelli in 1879. The year 1886 gave the world its first underwater Telegraph Cables. The range of Insulated ones was enlarged with the inclusion of transmission belts and bicycle inner tubes.
It all started with a bicycle tyre
Like most other tyre brands, Pirelli’s journey of tyre manufacturing began with bicycle tyres. The Milano model for bicycles was introduced in 1890. This gave the company a head-start in the tyre-manufacturing industry.
The firm’s first car tyre Ercole was launched with the advent of the new century. To promote his tyres, Pirelli turned towards motorsport racing because of its fame in Italy.
Pirelli Tyres gained popularity after its success in sporting. The company gathered praise after its victory in the Peking-Paris rally in the year 1907. With time, Pirelli became the first choice for most popular racers like Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio. Companies like Ferrari and Alfa Romeo started using Pirelli tyres on their cars.
After achieving grand success in the home country, Pirelli decided to expand the business internationally. He built the first factory in Catalonia with the help of his son, in 1914. In 1920, the branches were opened in Greece, Germany, Argentina, Turkey, and Brazil. Slowly, the company expanded in many parts of Europe.
Crisis and competition with Michelin
The two World Wars left a trenching impact on many sectors globally. However, Mussolini’s strict policies made it very difficult, especially for the Italian companies, to continue production. The French company, Michelin, started to take over the world of motorsport tyre-making. But in the 1980s, Pirelli launched low-profile tyres Barnet that proved to be a turning point for the company. It wasn’t late before Pirelli got its throne back.
After back to back failed contracts with companies like Bridgestone, Dunlop, and Continental, Pirelli found itself on the verge of bankruptcy. However, with time and hard efforts, it finally returned in the game. This happened with the purchase of the Metzeler brand that enhanced the company’s strength in the motorcycle sector, along with the Armstrong Tyre Co. which introduced the company to the American market. By the mid-1990s, Pirelli stabilised itself and started to move upwards.
Pirelli Tyres Finchley introduced the innovative MIRS robotised production system at the beginning of the 21st century. This technology helped in creating high-performance tyres. Then came the revolutionary run-flat tyres.
After expanding its branches in most parts of Europe and the United States, Pirelli opened its first branch in China in 2005. Its tyres then reached Russia and Romania.
Pirelli has served the world for almost 150 years now. It does not fail to amaze us with new technologies and quality products.