Michelin chose its industrial facility in Cuneo, Italy, the largest car tyre factory in western Europe and one of the most modern, to organize the first edition of its International Media Day, devoted to two strategic transformations for the Group.
The tyre markets evolution in the face of the new requirements from drivers,
constructors, and climate change;
The plants transformation in the face of new human, technological, and environmental challenges.
On this occasion, Michelin turned to its environmental commitment and in particular to its goal of 100% sustainable materials in its tyres by 2050.
Markets engaged in unprecedented change
The automobile markets have gone through a profound change in the last few years. In 30 years, everywhere in the world, consumers’ requirements and how they use their vehicles have greatly changed. The characteristics of ever heavier, more customized, more comfortable, and safer vehicles, car sharing, and the development of leasing are the visible signs of this. Moreover, climate change and more and more stringent environmental constraints have also had a major impact on many markets.
In this context, Michelin stands as an essential actor to accompany the main trends in the tyre market:
1. Tyre sizes are increasing, the consequence of heavier vehicles. This trend has a direct effect on consumption and CO2 emissions at a time of climate change and scarcity of resources. Michelin is responding to this paradox with technology. The reduction in rolling resistance in its products has, for example, allowed for savings of 3.4 billion liters of fuel over the tyres’ lifetime in 2021, thereby preventing 8.7 million metric tons of CO2 compared to 2010. Michelin will continue its efforts between now and 2030, improving this energy efficiency by a further 10% (Michelin data).
2. There is strong development of the all-season tyre in Europe: the all-season tyre has seen a remarkable success in Europe, with sales multiplied three-fold since 2015. This tyre is indeed recognized for its ease of use and its remarkable performance through technological breakthroughs developed by Michelin in particular. On this market, the Group anticipates growth of over 11% over the next 5 years.
Several factors contributed to this success:
- climate change and the occurrence of unpredictable snowy weather;
- changes in the European regulations;
- advantages for the consumer in not needing two sets of tyres;
- the development of vehicle fleets and leasing.
3. The electric boom. With the development of electric vehicles, tyres take center stage. Because the performance and constraints of electric vehicles make much greater demands on the tyres than combustion engine vehicles.
For good performance, a tyre for electric vehicles must have four essential qualities:
- longevity because of the increase in torque on acceleration and deceleration,
- rolling resistance, a key factor in autonomy,
- load capacity, fundamental for carrying the weight of the batteries,
- noise reduction, 70% of the sound level generated by an electric vehicle comes from driving, not the engine.
These requirements constitute a unique opportunity for Michelin to make full use of its technologies and know-how.
Michelin is continually transforming. We will rise to the challenges of the changing tyre markets thanks to an industrial tool that is ever more innovative, more environmentally friendly and in which humanity plays an important role. The innovative culture of the Michelin teams allows the Group to anticipate and invent solutions every day, in order to fulfil the expectations of its customers and society. We are confident of achieving our strategic goals: in, around and beyond the tyre.
Factories committed to an in-depth transformation
This first International Media Day also reviews the transformations currently being undertaken in the Group's factories. For several years, the Group has been engaged in a triple revolution on its production sites:
- A human revolution with profound questions on meaning, organization, and commitment.
- A technological revolution, with the use of data and digital technologies becoming generalized.
- An environmental revolution, with the pressing need to reconcile economic activity and sustainable development.
Human factories: stemming from its leadership model, Michelin has launched an ambitious work transformation around the concept of giving responsibility, and which is today bearing fruit. Michelin has been developing this ground-breaking managerial innovation in its factories for 15 years, to improve the work of production teams. Today this in-depth change is contributing to the better economic performance of factories and especially to responding to the challenge of making industrial professions attractive. Additionally, the Group is continuing to invest in the quality of social dialog, particularly through co-construction with union organizations and employees, a method set to develop strongly over the next ten years.
Technological factories: Michelin is also transforming its industry through digitization and the use of artificial intelligence. For the last 5 years, data has been stored for re-use in a collaborative environment. The factory 4.0, which combines robots with artificial intelligence, is increasing the scale of the transformation tenfold, allowing, in particular, for increasing production quality and flexibility, and improving working conditions and staff qualification levels. And finally, these innovations have enabled Michelin to achieve an annual profit of almost 60 million euro.
Ecological factories: Michelin already halved the environmental impact of its factories between 2005 and 2019. The Group's ambition goes a lot further: reaching zero net emissions by 2050 with an intermediate objective of reducing CO2 emissions by 50% between 2010 and 2030. This challenge can only be met by speeding up the Group’s efforts in terms of sobriety and a transition to green energy. The impact of CO2 is not the only criterion that Michelin wants to reduce; the Group is also committed to lowering its water consumption by over 30% by 2030.
Michelin presents two tyres approved for road use with a high rate of sustainable materials.
Michelin took a new step forward a few weeks ago by unveiling two tyres approved for road use, one for cars and the other for buses, containing 45% and 58% sustainable materials, respectively. This world first is a concrete illustration of Michelin's ability to reach its ambitious goal of 100% sustainable materials in all its tyres in 2050. They herald the technologies for future mass production models by 2025. These advances, made possible by Michelin's expertise in the field of materials, its R&D power, and its partnerships with innovatory startups, will benefit all Michelin Group products. The inclusion of sustainable materials in the development of its tyres is a real undertaking by the Group, in which no compromise in performance is made and care is taken not to worsen the environmental impact at every stage in the life cycle: design, manufacture, transport, use and recycling.