Michelin (; ; full name: Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin SCA) is a French multinational tire manufacturing company based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes région of France. It is the second largest tyre manufacturer in the world behind Bridgestone and larger than both Goodyear and Continental AG. In addition to the Michelin brand, it also owns the Kléber tyres company, Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Company, SASCAR, Bookatable and Camso brands. Michelin is also notable for its Red and Green Michelin Guide, its Road map, the Michelin stars that the Red Guide awards to restaurants for their cooking, and for its company mascot Michelin Man, colloquially known as the Michelin Man, who is a humanoid consisting of tyres.
Michelin's numerous inventions include the removable tyre, the pneurail (a tyre for rubber-tyred metros) and the radial tire. Michelin manufactures tyres for , aircraft, Automobile, heavy equipment, Motorcycle tire, and Bicycle tire. In 2012, the group produced 166 million tyres at 69 facilities located in 18 countries.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Michelin operated large rubber plantations in Vietnam. Conditions at these plantations led to the famous labour movement Phu Rieng Do.Solheim, B: The Vietnam War Era: A Personal Journey, page 11, Praeger Publishers, 2006. (See Google Books.)
In 1934, Michelin introduced a tyre which, if punctured, would run on a special foam lining, a design now known as a run-flat tire (self-supporting type).
Michelin developed and patented a key innovation in tyre history, the 1946 radial tire, and successfully exploited this technological innovation to become one of the world's leading tyre manufacturers. The radial was initially marketed as the "X" tyre. It was developed with the front-wheel-drive Citroën Traction Avant and Citroën 2CV in mind. Michelin had bought the then-bankrupt Citroën in the 1930s. Because of its superiority in handling and fuel economy, use of this tyre quickly spread throughout Europe and Asia. In the U.S., the outdated bias-ply tire persisted, with a market share of 87% in 1967.
In 1966, Michelin partnered with Sears to produce radial tyres under the Allstate brand and was selling 1 million units annually by 1970.
In 1968, Michelin opened its first North American sales office, and was able to grow that market for its products rapidly; by 1989 the company had a 10% market share for OEM tyres purchased by American automobile makers.
Also in 1968, Consumer Reports, an influential American magazine, acknowledged the superiority of the radial construction, setting off a rapid decline in Michelin's competitor technology. In the U.S., the radial tyre now has a market share of 100%.
In addition to the private label and replacement tyre market, Michelin scored an early OEM tyre win in North America, when it received the contract for the 1970 Continental Mark III, the first American car with radial tyres fitted as standard.
In 1989, Michelin acquired the recently merged tyre and rubber manufacturing divisions of the American firms B.F. Goodrich Company (founded in 1870) and Uniroyal, Inc. (founded in 1892 as the United States Rubber Company) from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. INSIDE , New York Times, Published: 23 September 1989 Uniroyal Australia had already been bought by Bridgestone in 1980. This purchase included the Norwood, North Carolina manufacturing plant which supplied tyres to the U.S. Space Shuttle Program.Karen Barber, "Goodrich Expects to Sell Norwood Plant to Michelin", The Charlotte Observer, 12 October 1988.
As of 1 September 2008, Michelin is again the world's largest tyre manufacturer after spending two years as number two behind Bridgestone. "Michelin Becomes World's Largest Tire Maker Again: Overtakes Bridgestone by slim margin" , Autoindustriya.com (10 September 2008). Michelin produces tyres in France, Serbia, Poland, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Thailand, Japan, India, Italy and several other countries. On 15 January 2010, Michelin announced the closing of its Ota, Japan plant, which employs 380 workers and makes the Michelin X-Ice tyre. Production of the X-Ice will be moved to Europe, North America, and elsewhere in Asia. In 2019, Michelin announced that plants in Germany and France are to be closed soon.
In December 2018, Michelin acquired Camso, a manufacturer of off-the-road tyres, tracks, and accessories for power sports, agriculture, material handling and construction markets.
On 22 January 2019, it was announced that Michelin had acquired Indonesian manufacturer Multistrada Arah Sarana, which produces Achilles Radial and Corsa tyres. On 19 June that year, Michelin owns 99.64% of the share capital of Multistrada.
In 2007, Casey Stoner on Bridgestone tyres won the world championship in dominating fashion, and Valentino Rossi and other top riders complained that Michelins were inferior. Rossi wanted Bridgestones for the 2008 season, but Bridgestone was reluctant to provide them; Dorna Sports threatened to impose a control tyre on the series, after which Bridgestone relented.
In 2008, Michelin committed errors of judgment in allocating adequate tyres for some of the race weekends. Dani Pedrosa's team switched to Bridgestones in the midst of the season, a highly unusual move that caused friction between Honda Racing Corporation and their sponsor Repsol YPF. Other riders also expressed concerns and it seemed that Michelin might not have any factory riders for the 2009 season, leading to rumours that Michelin would withdraw from the series altogether. Dorna and the FIM announced that a control tyre would be imposed on MotoGP for the 2009 season and Michelin did not enter a bid, effectively ending its participation in the series at the end of 2008.
Michelin returned to MotoGP in 2016 as the official tyre supplier after Bridgestone's withdrawal from the series at the end of 2015.
The company returned to Formula One in 2001, supplying the Williams, Jaguar Racing, Benetton Formula (renamed Renault in 2002), Prost and Minardi teams. Toyota joined F1 in 2002 with Michelin tyres, and McLaren also signed up with the company. Michelin Tyres were initially uncompetitive but by the 2005 season were dominant. This was partly because the new regulations stated that tyres must last the whole race distance (and qualifying), and partly because only one top team (Ferrari) was running Bridgestones, and so had to do much of the development work. Michelin in contrast had much more testing and race data provided by the larger number of teams running their tyres.
Following the debacle of the 2005 United States Grand Prix where, because of safety concerns, Michelin would not allow the teams it supplied to race, Michelin's share price fell by 2.5% (though it recovered later the same day). On 28 June, Michelin announced that it would offer compensation to all race fans who had bought tickets for the Grand Prix. The company committed to refunding the price of all tickets for the race. Additionally, it announced that it would provide 20,000 complimentary tickets for the 2006 race to spectators who had attended the 2005 event.
Michelin has had a difficult relationship with the sport's governing body (the FIA) since around 2003 and this escalated to apparent disdain between the two parties during the 2005 season. The most high-profile disagreement was at the United States Grand Prix and the acrimony afterwards. Michelin criticised the FIA's intention to move to a single source (i.e. one brand) tyre from 2008 and threatened to withdraw from the sport. In a public rebuke, FIA President Max Mosley wrote: "There are simple arguments for a single tyre, and if Michelin is not aware of this, he shows an almost comical lack of knowledge of modern Formula One". Another bone of contention has been the reintroduction of tyre changes during pit-stops from 2006. Michelin criticised the move claiming "this event illustrates F1's problems of incoherent decision-making and lack of transparency".
In December 2005, and as a result of the difficult relationship with the sport's governing body, Michelin announced that it would not extend its involvement in Formula One beyond the 2006 season. Bridgestone was then the sole supplier of tyres to Formula One until the end of the 2010 season, with Pirelli providing tyres for 2011.
The last race won on Michelin tyres in Formula One was the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso benefitted after the Scuderia Ferrari engine of Michael Schumacher failed during the race. This gave Michelin a second consecutive Constructors' Championship win, with the 2005 and 2006, after Bridgestone's seven-year winning streak, and brought to a total of four the number of titles for Michelin since this championship's inception back in the 1958 Formula One season; Michelin's other titles were in the 1979, and 1984 seasons.
Michelin has also supplied tyres in the European Le Mans Series. They have been the exclusive supplier of the LMP3 class since 2015.
ViaMichelin provides mapping for internet, mobile and satellite navigation products with street level coverage of Europe, USA, Australia, and parts of Asia and South America.
The company also has its headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, United States as Michelin North America. They first manufactured in the city in 1975 before opening up their headquarters a decade later.