Cours de l'action Michelin
Make Michelin a leader in sustainable mobility. Rank amongst the world’s most innovative, responsible and high-performing companies. In our quest to make sustainable mobility a reality, we move closer to this ambitious goal every day. Offering everyone a better way forward – that’s Michelin’s purpose.
2021 Universal Registration Document.
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The Group’s societal responsibility is embodied by its Development and Sustainable Mobility strategy. This strategy aims to make Michelin one of the most innovative, responsible, and high-performing companies worldwide across all of its responsibilities: economic, environmental, social and societal.
Innovation is in Michelin’s DNA. It’s what allows us to offer sustainable solutions that fully meet all our customers’ needs.
Michelin and Pyrowave join forces to industrialize an innovative plastic waste recycling technology
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Tires, solutions, and mobility experiences: explore all the products and services that Michelin develops and markets to improve your experience with mobility.
A Scottish woman named Elisabeth Pugh-Barker married Édouard Daubrée, an entrepreneur from Auvergne. She was the niece of the chemist Charles Macintosh, who had discovered that rubber was soluble in benzine.
Remembering the bouncing balls her uncle made for her, she began to make them herself in her husband’s workshop.
Her initiative brought rubber to Clermont-Ferrand, making a lasting impression!
Édouard Daubrée joined forces with his cousin Aristide Barbier to launch a farm machinery business. Édouard was in charge of production while Aristide handled sales and promotion.
They quickly made a name for themselves at international trade fairs and exhibitions thanks to the quality of their products and technologies, which used many rubber parts (hoses, valves, fittings, joints, etc.).
The company faced difficulties after its founders died in 1863 and 1864. Aristide’s Barbier’s daughter Adèle, who was married to Jules Michelin, was convinced that rubber had a big future. But she first had to face the company’s creditors and asked her sons André and Édouard for help.
Édouard took the reins of the company, changing its name to Michelin & Cie. Like their predecessors, the brothers had big plans and quickly found new rubber applications. They launched a brake pad for hackney cabs and horse-drawn carriages called “The Silent,” a name that already hinted at their international ambitions.
A cyclist with a punctured tire appeared in the plant’s courtyard one day. His bicycle had glued-on tires – a process that was effective, but hard to repair. Édouard Michelin took a personal interest in the issue and ended up creating a detachable tire to eliminate the many hours required for gluing and drying.
With his ingenious system, it took only 15 minutes to repair a flat tire. The modern tire was born and quickly proved itself. Using this tire, Charles Terront won the Paris-Brest-Paris race more than eight hours ahead of the second competitor!
André and Édouard Michelin became interested in the automotive industry, which they expected to grow quickly. They mounted the first car tires they designed on a vehicle called the Éclair, which participated in the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race.
The vehicle didn’t win, but made history by becoming the first car to ride on air! This feat allowed the Michelin brothers to showcase the benefits of tires to the world, particularly their reliability, resistance, safety, and comfort.
The Michelin Man was born in a pile of tires. His instantly recognizable silhouette came straight out of the imagination of André and Édouard Michelin and was drawn into existence by artist Marius Rossillon, known as O’Galop.
That same year, the Michelin Man was featured in a remarkable composition entitled “Nunc est Bibendum,” then at the Michelin stand during the first edition of the Paris Motor Show. From then on, each of his appearances became an event and an opportunity to build trust and friendship with the public.
Camille Jenatzy sought to set a new speed record even though vehicle performances were still limited. But impossible was not in the Michelin brothers’ vocabulary! As usual, André and Édouard took on the challenge by equipping the electric car.
The smaller diameter and wider tread of these special tires made them very stable, and they already looked like modern tires. Thanks to these tires, Jenatzy’s “Jamais Contente” (“Never Satisfied”) became the first vehicle in the world to break the symbolic 100 km/h barrier.
At that time, car travel was a true adventure! André Michelin quickly understood the need to support their customers’ journeys. He created a red booklet called the “Guide Michelin,” featuring technical recommendations (tire maintenance and repair, etc.) and practical information (addresses of garages, gas stations, tire shops, hotels, etc.).
When the “Étoile des bonnes tables” (“fine dining star”) Guide was published in 1926, it became a reference for gourmet food lovers and professionals. In 1910, Michelin launched a 1/200,000 road map to complement the directions in its Guide and make it easier for drivers to find their way.
When 3,500 Michelin workers were called up to the army, the company focused its production on tires, wheels, and essentials: sleeping bags, tents, mugs, and many other items made of rubber. Since the Michelin brothers believed the war would be won in the air, they contributed to the war efforts by using part of their factory to produce aircraft.
Between 1915 and 1918, Michelin made nearly 2,000 Breguet airplanes. To ensure these planes could take off in any weather, the company built the world’s first concrete runway.
André Michelin was traveling in a sleeper car, kept awake by the shaking and squeaking, when inspiration struck: “We should put tires on the train cars so people can sleep!” The company created a special tire equipped with a guide ring that could roll on the narrow surface of the tracks and support the weight of a truck.
This innovation gave birth to the Micheline, a railcar mounted on tires. On September 10, 1931, the inaugural voyage of prototype No. 5 between Paris and Deauville showcased its comfort, lightness, and speed. Since the Micheline could adapt to all situations, it was adopted all over the world.
After actively campaigning for roads to be numbered in 1912, André Michelin wanted to go even further to improve road navigation. At the end of World War I, he started to produce distance markers and signs. His goal was to introduce simple, effective, and lasting signage.
Nameplates were made of enameled lava while their bases were made of reinforced concrete. After a few tests, Michelin developed a wide range of road signs to meet all needs. Michelin manufactured several thousand signs until the early 1970s.
Michelin took the reins of French carmaker Citroën and put Pierre Michelin and Pierre Boulanger in charge. The two men immediately started conducting tests as part of the TPV program — for “Toute Petite Voiture” (“Very Small Car”). This idea was inspired by the results of the National Popular Automobile Survey.
The Michelin brothers conducted this first major market study in 1922 to identify consumer needs and create a new type of vehicle: simple, versatile, easy to drive, and above all, economical. The 2CV was finally launched in 1949. It was a success, and the company produced more than 5 million units.
Starting in 1930, vehicles became heavier and more powerful. As a result, Michelin engineers changed the tire architecture. Adding metal wires allowed them to overcome many limitations. Since nothing is stronger than metal, they decided to study its interaction with rubber.
After six years of research, they found a solution to make them stick together permanently. This discovery opened up promising new avenues and quickly led to the design of the first steel-cased tire, sold in 1937: the “Metalic.”
Michelin designed a prototype called a “fly cage” in reference to the widely spaced cables in its casing. Its revolutionary architecture gave rise to the Radial tire, whose patent was filed on June 4, 1946.
Sold under the name MICHELIN X, this tire was a real breakthrough thanks to its exceptional performance: incredible longevity (it lasted 2 to 4 times longer than a conventional tire), greater safety, and, above all, reduced vehicle fuel consumption. Radial technology was then applied to all types of vehicles.
François Michelin, the founder’s grandson, became Managing Partner of the company alongside Robert Puiseux. From the very beginning of his mandate, he took full advantage of the positive economic context to impose Radial technology on all automotive markets, which were growing rapidly at the time.
This successful strategy quickly propelled Michelin from tenth place to that of the world’s leading tire manufacturer.
To support the radialization of the market, Michelin devoted most of its financial resources to developing the X tire. In 1965, the first research and test center opened in Ladoux, near Clermont-Ferrand (France). It featured laboratories, workshops, and tracks.
The company then built other centers: Alméria in Spain (1973), Laurens in the United States (1977), and Ota in Japan (1991). Michelin also used state-of-the-art analytical vehicles to test the tires. The most remarkable was the Milles Pates or PLR (Poids Lourd Rapide — Fast Heavy Truck), built in 1972 to test truck tires.
Though Michelin stepped away from the racetracks in 1912, it returned to racing thanks to the X tire’s unexpected victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951. Radial technology quickly established itself everywhere in all disciplines, showcasing its exceptional performance each time.
Michelin went on to win a string of victories, including the first World Rally Championship with the Alpine-Renault team in 1973. The same year, the company created a motorsport department to help drivers and their teams. Next came World Championship titles in the Formula 1 (1979) and MotoGP (1984).
Driven by the Radial’s commercial success, Michelin began expanding into new markets. Starting in 1975, it built four production units in the United States: Greenville, Anderson, and Spartanburg, SC; and Dothan, AL. The X tire was just as successful on other continents, allowing the company to pursue its international growth strategy.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Michelin entered the emerging markets in Asia and Eastern Europe. The company built new factories in Japan, Thailand, Korea, China, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Russia.
The company reached a new turning point in its history. After years of exclusively organic growth, it began prospering through acquisitions. In 1981, the Michelin Group bought Kléber, which was facing major financial difficulties. Michelin then made lasting inroads into the North American markets by acquiring Uniroyal-Goodrich in the spring of 1990.
The Group pursued its development strategy by buying plants from two Eastern European manufacturers: Stomil Olsztyn (Poland) in 1995 and Taurus (Hungary) in 1996.
François Michelin appointed his son Édouard as Managing Partner. He had joined the Group in 1989 as Production Manager at the Le Puy-en-Velay plant. He then moved to the United States to head up the Group’s eight plants and the truck business.
His new role didn’t interrupt his work in North America. He officially took over from his father at the Annual General Meeting in May 2002.
At a time when the environment wasn’t yet a priority, Michelin launched the “Green Tire” concept. Introducing silica into the mixes significantly lowered the tire’s rolling resistance, reducing fuel consumption and limiting CO2 emissions.
Michelin officially presented the tire at the 1992 Paris Motor Show under the name MXN (N for Nature). Two years later, Michelin launched its first range of “Green Tires” called MICHELIN Energy.
Imagining the mobility of the future: this is the challenge Michelin set for itself on the cusp of the new millennium. The Group began organizing the Challenge Bibendum, a new kind of international gathering to bring together major mobility players (manufacturers, researchers, institutions, etc.).
It was a success and became a recurring event, with 12 editions around the world between 1998 and 2014. This can’t-miss event changed directions in 2017, becoming Movin’On by Michelin, the World Summit on Sustainable Mobility.
The Financial Times named the Michelin Man “Best Logo of the Century,” the ultimate recognition. That same year, the Group diversified its activities by creating Michelin Lifestyle Limited (MLL), a subsidiary focused on designing and marketing tie-in products in the fields of mobility, sports and leisure, and the Michelin brand universe.
The products were manufactured under license in partnership with renowned global manufacturers.
Michel Rollier became Managing Partner in 2005. Following Édouard Michelin’s accidental death in 2006, he became sole Managing Partner.
Jean-Dominique Senard, who had been a Managing Partner since 2007, took over from Rollier in 2012 and served as Chairman of the Michelin Group until May 2019.
Michelin developed many travel assistance products and services to provide its customers with a unique mobility experience. It reinforced its position as the European leader in online restaurant reservations by acquiring Restaurantes.com, leader in Spain with more than 5,000 establishments equipped with its solutions and more than 700,000 covers booked in 2015.
The company created even more value through mergers and acquisitions, establishing itself in new business sectors relating to and beyond tires.
Michelin was a visionary from the very beginning and remains a visionary today. Its VISION concept offers a true technological leap forward, nearly 30 years ahead of its time! The VISION tire is biosourced, connected, and has a renewable tread, illustrating Michelin’s sustainable development model for tires until 2050.
It’s also the North Star that guides and inspires the Group’s R&D teams. With 19 patents, VISION offers an unparalleled field of experimentation and innovation.
The Michelin Man received the “Millennium Icon Award” at Advertising Week, an international conference series in the US for marketing, branding, and advertising leaders. It was a wonderful honor for the Michelin Man, who celebrated his 120th anniversary that year!
2018 also marked Michelin’s 400th victory in MotoGP™, thanks to more than 40 years of innovative technologies at the highest level of motorcycle racing.
Florent Menegaux became CEO at the end of the May 2019 Shareholders’ Meeting. The same year, the Group unveiled MICHELIN UPTIS, a tire that is puncture-proof tire since it doesn’t use air. This major revolution makes punctures a thing of the past, eliminating the need for spare wheels and other tire repair kits.
It’s the greatest tire innovation since the discovery of the Radial tire in the late 1940s. This technological feat has already received four prestigious awards in the innovation and tire of the year categories.
Because we must act quickly to protect the planet and its inhabitants, Michelin is expanding its commitments and actions around the development of the hydrogen industry, resource preservation, biodiversity protection, the fight against climate change, and safer mobility.
As always, the Group is relying on the incredible innovation laboratory that is motorsport to meet the challenges of future mobility and accelerate the use of sustainable materials. Examples: “Mission H24,” the project to introduce hydrogen technology into endurance racing, and the MotoE™, the 100% electric motorcycle race.
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