MICHELIN Primacy 4 - Long Lasting Performance
Discover our evolution over time
The 1920s: until completely worn
Starting in the 1920s, MICHELIN’s engineers began improving tire performances like traction and braking. The promise of long-lasting, high-performance tires was already a key concern for the Group. A small red blazon represented MICHELIN’s seal of quality, guaranteeing customer performance “until completely worn.”
The 1930s: the Michelin Stop skid-resistant tire
The MICHELIN Stop tire, launched in the 1930s, promised customers skid-resistant tires even on wet roads, until the tire was completely worn out. To achieve that, the tread featured undulating sipes which never completely disappeared - their edges became sharper with wear.
1949 : the radial revolution
On June 4, 1946 Michelin filed the first patent for a radial tire. But it was only three years later, in 1949, that the first Radial passenger car tire was sold under the MICHELIN X brand. This new tire offered improved safety, better gas mileage, and most importantly a longer useful life. It could be driven two to four times farther, with the same level of comfort and safety.
The 1960s: going even further
As other manufacturers began to adopt radial technology, MICHELIN set about improving it. The X tire, produced in versions for all vehicles, offered constant improvements in performance which were valued because they lasted, as the slogans of the era reveal: “With MICHELIN tires, there’s no end in sight", "MICHELIN, quality that lasts" or "MICHELIN: Discover the secret of longer life" !
The 1980s and 90s: angled siping for snow tires
With the invention of angled siping, MICHELIN forever changed the snow tire market. Thanks to its flexibility in use and maximum efficiency in winter conditions this technology quickly supplanted studded tires. Beyond a certain degree of wear (approximately 30%) the MICHELIN XM+S Alpin tire offers impressive grip thanks to the “claw” effect, which is heightened by the double sipes.
1992: the first green tire
Silica, which is made from sand, has long been known for its unique properties, particularly the way it improves tear-resistance in rubber blends. In 1992, Michelin made a major step forwards by combining an original silica with a synthetic elastomer using a chemical binding agent in a special blending process. The blends produced with this technique made it possible to develop tires with low rolling resistance (-35% compared to other tires at the time, for potential fuels savings of 5%) and excellent grip on cold surfaces, while maintaining exceptional durability. The MICHELIN Energy range was born.
The 2000s: 3D sipes
One of the innovations of the 2000s is seen in tread sculptures, with the arrival of 3D sipes. These three-dimensional designs offer excellent road-holding in winter conditions.
2014: EverGrip technology
The MICHELIN Premier A/S tire, presented at the Detroit 2014 auto show, introduced EverGrip technology, which offers drivers a long-lasting, high-performance tire. To guarantee safety, optimal grip and durability, the tread sculpture regenerates as you drive, for better grip even when worn.
2016: sustainable performance, from the first kilometer to the last
In 2016, Michelin reaffirmed its commitment to producing tires that perform up to the legal limit (minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm). The Group is taking a stand against the practice of early tire removal, which some tire companies recommend. This commitment is in line with Michelin’s historic drive to promote sustainable mobility that is safe, efficient, and uses natural resources responsibly. Early tire replacement leads to the consumption of up to 128 million extra tires in Europe every year - a figure which represents 9 million tonnes of additional CO2 emissions per year. In addition to this environmental impact, replacing partially worn tires generates high unjustified costs for consumers.
2017: used tires, the true test of performance
Braking on wet or dry ground, lateral grip on wet ground and rolling resistance... The May 2017 tests at our Ladoux technology center confirmed that a tire designed for lasting performance can maintain its performance when worn. There’s no reason to replace it early. Because new tire performance does not predict used tire performance, Michelin now recommends testing used tires.
2019: An approach recognized by EU institutions
Michelin’s Long Lasting Performance approach has garnered recognition from EU institutions, which have added the principle of worn tire testing to the EU regulations. In early July, Michelin organized tests on the OAMTC track in Austria to demonstrate the importance of testing worn tires and highlight the differences between worn tires.
“Long Lasting Performance is at the heart of Michelin’s activity, to better serve consumers”
Becoming the leader in sustainable mobility is the ambition and purpose of the Michelin group, an ambition reaffirmed by its Long Lasting Performance approach. EU institutions have now recognized this approach by adding the principle of worn tire testing to the EU regulations* in a move applauded by Michelin. The fact that wet braking performance, which is key to safety, decreases as tires are used highlights the importance of evaluating worn tires. Contrary to popular belief, tread depth doesn't guarantee safe tires. The real difference lies in how well tires are designed. That’s why Michelin invests over 600 million euros in research and development every year. But Michelin’s Long Lasting Performance approach goes beyond enabling everyone to insist on tires that stay safe from the first kilometer to the last: it’s also good for the environment and consumers’ budgets. How? Because having tires that are still safe when worn means changing our tires less often. That’s better for the planet, since it saves resources and reduces CO2 emissions.
Further reading: We have everything to gain from increased transparency
*The EU institutions affirmed the importance of testing worn tires during the revision of the General Safety Regulation, which is slated for formal adoption this fall, and a UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) working group has been formed to define the test procedures, benchmark tires, and regulatory requirements.