MICHELIN at the Paris Motor Show: 120 years of innovation at the service of sustainable mobility

From October 4 to 14, 2018, the 120th edition of the Paris Motor Show will be held at the Parc des Expositions in Porte de Versailles. A trade show that, with over 1 million visitors, remains one of the largest motor shows in the world. It is certainly the oldest. New for this year: the big return of two-wheelers with new uses and new types of mobility.



The Michelin Man and the Paris Motor Show? A story of loyalty, as the Group started attending in 1898, the first edition of the Motor Show. The event first took place in the Jardin des Tuileries, in the heart of Paris, before moving to the Grand Palais in 1901. It was not until 1962 that the entire Show moved from the heart of the capital to the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles.



Despite the moves and many changes in the format, MICHELIN has remained faithful to the event and is now the oldest company exhibiting there. Once again, it is an opportunity for the Group, as at each edition, to present its latest inventions and innovations for sustainable mobility to a wide audience. Ten important dates highlighting Michelin's presence at the Paris Motor Show.

1898: the creation of Bibendum and its first appearance

While girls are made of sugar and spice and boys of snips and snails, the Michelin Man was made from a stack of tires. Which is perfectly normal for a hero of the car industry! His inimitable silhouette came straight from the imagination of André and Edouard Michelin and became a reality in 1898 through the brush of artist Marius Rossillon, known by his nom de plume, “O’Galop”. The same year, an astonishing composition titled "Nunc est Bibendum" was displayed at the MICHELIN booth, at the first edition of the Paris Motor Show. Each of his public appearances quickly created a buzz. He quickly established a certain friendship with his admirers. As a stroke of advertising genius, he appeared on every one of the brand’s advertising resources, illustrating and explaining technical information associated with correct tire use. He is also the genie of Mobility, the one who advises and guides...


1907: the inflator and the MICHELIN air bottle

Launched on the 1907 Paris Motor Show, the first inflators are small, light and easy-to-use devices that do not require gears, belts or chains to operate. The MICHELIN air bottle comes out the same year and offers many benefits to users, who can take it anywhere. Once empty, it can be exchanged at any of the company’s dealers or agents. By the end of the 1920s the inflator, which until then was purely a practical device, became an advertising aid when MICHELIN designed the first electric models. Bibendum would ride on the compressor while blowing into an air hose, as if he were inflating the tires himself. There were two models: the one for the public, known as "Light", which operated on 110V, and the one for garages, called "Force", which ran on a 380V motor.


1912: the new MICHELIN tire removal levers

As tires require regular care and checks, MICHELIN developed a range of suitable accessories very early on. In 1912, the Group presented its new models of levers and tire removers at the Motor Show. They make it easy to put tires on and take them off, a job often feared by motorists. To show how simple it was to change a wheel with these new accessories, young people from Auvergne performed the operation at the MICHELIN booth in front of passers-by and spectators! The following year this demonstration inspired a poster designed by Poulbot: "A kid can easily change any tire... thanks to the MICHELIN levers".


1949: the Radial tire

It was at the 1949 Show that the car industry discovered the Radial tire. This type of tire was a genuine breakthrough in advanced materials technology. It was innovative by its design, but also by its exceptional performance: an incredible longevity (2 to 4 times more km than a conventional tire), better safety (handling, grip...) and it also significantly reduced the fuel consumption of vehicles. Such an innovation was difficult for the general population to understand!


1952: The Michelin Man’s wedding

In 1952, the Paris Motor Show set the stage for an incredible event... Curious bystanders would have said it was the Michelin Man’s wedding, but it took experts to explain the details of the fabulous “marriage between steel and textiles”. This revolutionary technological union produced radial tires for all types of motorized vehicles: cars (1949), heavy trucks (1952), construction vehicles (1959), farming vehicles (1978), planes (1981) and motorbikes (1984). The ceremony took place at the Michelin booth in front of an astounded crowd. An event that definitely did not go unnoticed! Once again, Michelin made an impression with an effective yet simple marketing campaign; it used an example that spoke to the greatest number of people and made a complex invention understandable.


1992: the Green tire

Following the oil crisis of 1973, the Group's Technology Centers worked on materials to reduce the rolling resistance of tires. In June 1990, François Michelin presented his idea to the General Meeting of Shareholders and, one year later in July 1991, mass production of the new envelope began. The tire was officially presented at the Paris Motor Show the following year. It was called MXN (of which N for Natural). Michelin worked closely with Rhône-Poulenc on a design using silica, because it was precisely the introduction of this new material into the blend that made the tires more versatile, and especially more economical. The concept of Green tire was born!


1994: Michelin Alpin with Y-shaped sipes

Launch of the MICHELIN Alpin Y-sipe tire, which doubled the density of the sipes at the end of its life and thus improved snow grip throughout its life. MICHELIN continues to develop its expertise with its 3D sipes, the flagship at this year motor show would be the all new Alpin 6. A long-lasting tire fully adapted to the harshest winter conditions.


2001: ViaMichelin

ViaMichelin is launched to develop digital services for travel assistance. They provide users with the information they need to prepare their trips, free of charge. An expertise in Services and Solutions that the Group is now developing for all its customers, both individuals and professionals. Michelin is also investing in services for truck drivers. The Roadconnect and Truckfly apps (Android and iOS) enable drivers to organize their journeys while taking into account traffic incidents and restrictions related to the transport of hazardous materials. They also indicate points of interest (POI) along the route.

Screen shot taken from the ViaMichelin website in 2001

Screen shot taken from the ViaMichelin website in 2001 

2015: MICHELIN Crossclimate, the only summer tire certified for use in winter as well.

A major innovation intended for the European market, the first summer tire with the winter 3PMSF certification is a good illustration of MICHELIN’s Global Performance: adding functionality to cover a variety of uses. Certified for winter use, the MICHELIN CrossClimate tire is a fusion of summer and winter tire technologies, which have been incompatible until now. MICHELIN presents the latest advances in this technology at the 2018 Motor Show with the MICHELIN CrossClimate + tire, an optimized version that offers better traction on snow-covered ground. A tire that meets the philosophy of long-term performance that the group develops today in many tires. Another variation, the MICHELIN Agilis CrossClimate tire, for vans, light commercial vehicles or motorhomes.

*A three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol branded on a tire's sidewall indicates the tire meets required performance criteria in snow testing to be considered severe snow service-rated.

CrossClimate campaign : Arm yourself for every weather condition.

CrossClimate campaign : Arm yourself for every weather condition.

2018: MICHELIN Vision concept

After having unveiled it in Montreal at the Movin'On Sustainable Mobility Summit, the Paris Motor Show is an ideal opportunity for MICHELIN to present the MICHELIN Vision Concept for the first time. It embodies and translates into actions Michelin's vision of innovation for mobility of the future.

The MICHELIN Vision Concept covers it all:

  1. An airless wheel/tire designed to last as long as the vehicle itself; it is extremely light and strong thanks to its honeycomb structure. It is made from recycled or bio-sourced 100% biodegradable materials and is fully recyclable.
  2. A special regenerable tread which is able to be “replenished" as required using a 3D printer when it is worn or needs to be adapted to road conditions. The materials used (cold vulcanization technology) offer the same performance as conventional treads.
  3. A connected tire that informs the driver of tread wear and can schedule re-treading, choosing the type of tread that best suits his driving style and type of use.



MICHELIN at the Paris Motor Show 2018

No surprises this year, you will find the Group in pavilion 1 at the same location (stand 431) as during previous editions (2014 & 2016). This year, the 473-m² MICHELIN stand is highlighting the products, services and solutions offered by the Group for more sustainable mobility. A commitment that is translated by the availability of ranges of tires that maintain their performance levels right up until the legal tire wear is reached. Especially for passenger cars: MICHELIN CrossClimate+, MICHELIN Alpin 6, or even the MICHELIN Primacy 4. Services and solutions: MICHELIN will present Track Connect, the first connected tire solution on the market. MICHELIN Track Connect is a complete, connected offer providing personalized, skilled advice on optimal tire pressure adjustment for all your “runs” round the circuit! A world first in the sports car segment for circuit use. Lastly, having unveiled it in Montreal at the MICHELIN Vision Concept for the first time, showing people the tire of the future. The future as Michelin imagines it.