Italian tiremaker Pirelli celebrates its 150th foundation anniversary this year and keeps looking forward, with innovation and sustainability as core values, said the company's CEO and executive vice chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
"Pirelli is a company that has a brand based on leading-edge technologies… all these technologies make our company a leader in the very challenging environment that is the future," said Tronchetti, referring to the high-tech tires developed by Pirelli for electric vehicles and the autonomous driving market.
Innovation has always been the core value for Pirelli. Founded in 1872 in northern Italy's Milan, the company piled up over 6,700 patents across its 150 year-long history, ranging from velocipede coverings to supercar tires, from self-repairing and noise-canceling systems to the latest cyber-tire technologies.
Eyeing the autonomous driving market, featuring increasingly connected and information-reliant cars, Pirelli developed its "Cyber Tyre" system, which communicates with the vehicle's electronics via sensors placed in each tire and provides the car and driver with a digital identity, the state of the tires and the software integrated into the car's electronics.
"Thanks to the fact that the tire is the only piece of the car that touches the ground, we have all the information, and we are developing artificial intelligence with new flows of information to make cars safer for the drivers and better performing," said Tronchetti.
Along with innovation, sustainability is another important value in Pirelli's development.
The company uses only renewable power in its European factories and plans to do the same in all its production plants - 19 factories across 12 countries in the world – by 2025, aiming to complete carbon neutrality by 2030, according to Tronchetti.
The company's values were enhanced after China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), a Chinese state-owned chemical company now part of Sinochem Holdings, invested heavily in the Italian tiremaker in 2015.
After hiving off its industrial tires activities and finding new access to the Chinese market, where sustainability and innovation play an ever greater role, Pirelli adjusted its focus on high tech-consumer products and led the world's top sustainability indexes thanks to its commitment to environmental-friendly technologies.
"We were able to accelerate our growth in China, focusing more on the consumer side, where we, in China, have the most advanced factories dedicated to high-tech and environment-friendly products," said Tronchetti Provera.
Currently, Pirelli owns three factories and one R&D center in China. "The changes and speed of innovation of the Chinese market have prompted Pirelli to constantly introduce new technologies, products, and services," said Pirelli's Asia-Pacific region senior vice-president Giuliano Menassi in a recent interview with Xinhua.
The company's CEO also spoke highly of his cooperation with Sinochem and Pirelli's chairman Ning Gaoning, describing it as an "always supportive" constructive and professional dialogue.
"I remember when Chairman Ning visited our factory in Italy, how passionate he was about our technologies. It is a very positive partnership," said Tronchetti.
The CEO also talked about Italy-China bilateral relations. "Obviously, a positive relationship is helping business and we are happy to grow in China, a country that has such a friendly relationship with our country."
In 2021, Pirelli achieved above target-results, with a 321.6 million euro in net profit, tripled in comparison to the previous year, and 5.33 billion euro in revenues, up 23.9 percent from the previous year, said the company in a note. (Source: Pirelli)