Tire of manufacturer of the year

This reinforces our choice to offer products and services that are ever more accessible and efficient, without harming the environment.
Pierre Robert, Michelin "Testing Ambition" Program Director for the Michelin Group

What does it mean to win the TTI Award for Tire Manufacturer for a second year running?


To be awarded again as Tire Manufacturer of the year by such a highly recognized group of experts is a great reward for all the Michelin teams. This reinforces our choice to offer products and services that are ever more accessible and efficient, without harming the environment. And what makes Michelin unique is its ability to meet these three challenges…simultaneously.



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    How does Michelin maintain the level of innovation and development that has clearly impressed the judges for another consecutive year ?


    Innovation is part of Michelin's DNA, it is anchored in our history. Today, when environmental issues are at the heart of every debate, Michelin remains more than ever faithful to its pioneering spirit, not letting things that are considered impossible stop us, but developing and pursuing our ideas for safety and sustainability. One excellent example for this is our push towards tyre products that deliver a Long Lasting Performance. At Michelin we design tyres that deliver high level of safety not when new, but also after years and thousands of kilometers on the road. The conviction for the need to test tyres in the worn state is now shared by the industry and will become mandatory by the regulation in 2024 in Europe.


    Over the last 12 months, what would you point to as the most significant developments in the company's continuing growth?


    If we want to talk about growth, the tire business is shifting from selling more towards selling more sustainable products. This reality pushes us to move into new territories of growth by relying on our historical know-how in the field of tires like the work we are doing in high-tech materials for always cleaner solutions (Some examples are BioButterfly, to produce butadiene using ethanol derived from biomass and Symbio, to develop, produce and sell hydrogen fuel cell systems for light vehicles, utility vehicles, trucks). And in the field of services and solutions like the optimization of the fleet management (more than 1 million vehicles were connected at the end of 2019).

    Those projects are part of the VISION concept, which illustrates Michelin's sustainable development model, the feasibility of which we regularly prove. As recently with the Michelin UPTIS prototype, the puncture-proof tire.



    What trends do you think will prove central to work at Michelin over the next 12 months?


    Continue to realize our vision of “all-sustainable”. Everything we do must now meet three inseparable criteria: our respect for People, without whom no transformation is possible; our Profit, which is a measure of our longevity and investments for the future; the respect for the Planet and its inhabitants, which are at the heart of our mission. Michelin is engaged with the Industry to continue to increase scientific knowledge on TRWP and develop a standardized abrasion test method.  Of course, Michelin continues to invest in R&D to develop tyres with higher performances while needing less but high tech materials, and moreover limiting emissions. We will regularly demonstrate our commitment to this vision with new and concrete evidence. And to get a glimpse of new projects in progress, meet us at Movin’On in Montreal at the beginning of June.

Innovation award

It is a clear gamechanger, a revolution first for our consumers and customers.
Cyrille Roget, technical and scientific communication director for the Michelin Group

How big a gamechanger do you think Uptis is going to be for the tire industry?


It is a clear gamechanger, a revolution first for our consumers and customers.

For years, we have been able to improve all performances of the tyres, but no solution has been found to remove or reduce the burden of tyre punctures or tyre damage that leave you stranded on the side of the road. It is also a gamechanger revolution for the tyre industry since it is reinventing the way that tyres are designed and built. It is also a gamechanger revolution for regulation, in the way of how tyres and wheels are regulated and standardized.

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    The judges viewed Uptis as a milestone in actual, feasible application of a technology that has been discussed for many years - what is it about Michelin's culture and ethos that has made it possible to make non-pneumatics in mass production a serious proposition, rather than another lofty concept?


    Michelin view Michelin Uptis as a clear mandatory step to master airless design and to move towards the concept Vision. It is a clear commitment that we took with General Motors to put it on the market in 2024 as an option on a GM vehicle. This is due to the fact that we are very focused on several aspects :


    • Do everything we can to improve the consumer experience, and we believe that a tyre puncture is not an acceptable experience, checking tyre pressure is not either. We care about giving everyone a better mobility.
    • Do everything we can to reduce tyre waste. When everyone consider the number of tyres that are wasted every year due to pressure related issues (up to 200 Millions tyre per year), this is not an acceptable issue, if we can find an innovation that can help to reduce it.

    Those two aspects, care for our consumers, care for the planet resources, are key drivers for our innovations.



    What technological aspect of Uptis is the team most proud of?


    The biggest challenge for the design team was to create an airless innovation that would deliver the same experience that you get on the Michelin tyre. So all the performances like safety, wear life, contribution to fuel consumption, comfort, noise were essential to deliver in a airless innovation, equivalent to the pressurized tire. The resin embedded fiberglass was a key structural innovation that led to the performances of Uptis. Being able to master the materials, the design and the performances make us very proud.


    It must be incredibly rewarding to see GM share Michelin's belief in this technology?


    When creating such revolution in the tyre industry is always a challenge, it is essential to find partners that believe in your innovation to the point that they will embark in the journey with you. So yes, we were very happy and honored when a great worldwide car maker like GM decided to sign the contract with us to co-develop Michelin Uptis.


    What's the next milestone for the Uptis project? What are you hoping to see 'ticked off the list' in 2020?


    There are many challenges ahead of us before we put Michelin Uptis on the market. It ranges from obtaining derogations to road test Uptis in different conditions, working on the building process, working on the definition with regulators of what are “airless “ tyres...

    All of those will start or continue in 2020.

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