Pirelli showcased its Cinturato All Season tyre on Sicily

Pirelli showcased its Cinturato All Season tyre on Sicily

Pirelli says it is actively pitching its products where markets are growing as the battle for European tyre market share hots up.

Both the Italian manufacturer and its French rival, Michelin, have launched separate products in recent weeks, as they look to capitalise on year-round usage by consumers reluctant to undergo the sometimes onerous task of changing and storing tyres according to seasonality and regulation.

Pirelli recently unveiled its new Cinturato All Season tyre, with the manufacturer saying the sector in Europe is growing at a yearly expansion rate of double digits forecast from 2013-2018.

"If you look at the overall dimensions of the [European] market, the growing rate is not so fast as Asia or [the] US, but it is really, really important to go inside the market and understand behaviour and trends of specific segments," Pirelli operational marketing director, Andrea Casaluci, told just-auto at last week's Geneva International Motor Show.

"For example the premium segment, [the] 17" up or prestige 18" up, are growing at double digits year by year. We are there and play this game in prestige.

"Another niche that is growing is all season. The Cinturato is a pure European product not developed for the US, where there is a completely different all season concept that addresses US consumers needs more oriented on mileage and car parc use. That is of course a good opportunity."

The tyre manufacturer adds it continues to recommend its winter products for performance vehicles and extreme conditions, but notes it is responding to a particular segment of consumers, who prefer not to change wheels due to their pattern of usage.

As such the Cinturato will be aimed at drivers not covering major distances or those with performance cars.

The Italian supplier is also providing its Seal Inside technology as a premium option for the Cinturato, permitting cars to be driven after a puncture and with what it maintains is no loss of pressure from foreign object damage up to 4mm diameter.

The Pirelli operational marketing director equally noted Europe's economies were not entirely out of the woods yet after seeing modest recoveries following years of challenges, but saw reasons for cautious optimism.

"Europe is not completely finished at the critical moment, but there are signs of improvement," said Casaluci. "In Italy, thanks to the Euro depreciation and easier access to money and capital, we are already detecting a good signal of growth compared to the last two years.

"For Pirelli, Europe is very important and so we are looking with interest there."

Prior to last week's Geneva International Motor Show, Michelin launched its CrossClimate tyre featuring a summer product with winter certification.

Michelin will launch the CrossClimate in May this year on European markets, with the product able to brake in a short distance in dry conditions, while having an A grading for wet stopping performance.

On its commercial launch, the CrossClimate will be available in 23 different sizes from 15 to 17 inches, which covers 70% of the European market.

Further sizes are scheduled for 2016.