Michelin presents changes to tyre markets
and the transformation of its facilities
Michelin chose its industrial site in Cuneo, Italy – the largest car tyre factory in Western Europe,
and one of the most modern – as the venue for the 2022 edition of its Media Day, which was devoted
to two of the Group’s strategic transformations:
- Changing tyre markets to meet motorists’ emerging needs and climate change;
- Transforming its production facilities to respond to new environmental, technological and human challenges.
On this occasion, and as a world premiere, Michelin is showcasing two road-approved tyres with high percentages of sustainable materials.
Markets are going through unprecedented change
Over the last few years, automobile markets have witnessed a profound transformation. In the course of 30 years, consumer habits and needs have changed significantly. Ever heavier, more comfortable and safer vehicles, car sharing and the expansion of leasing are the visible signs of this. Moreover, climate change and ever more stringent environmental demands are also having a major impact on these markets.
Against this backdrop, Michelin presents the broad trends of the tyre market:
1. Tyre sizes are increasing as a result of ever heavier vehicles. This trend directly affects consumption and CO2 emissions, in the face of climate change and diminishing resources. Michelin is tackling this contradiction with the help of technology. For example, reducing rolling resistance in its products helped save 3.4 billion litres of fuel throughout the lifespan of tyres in 2021, saving 8.7 million metric tons of CO2 in comparison with 2010. Michelin will continue these efforts until 2030, further improving energy efficiency by 10% (Michelin data).
2. All-weather tyres are increasingly popular. Long snubbed by European motorists, all-weather tyres have witnessed outstanding market success on the continent over the last few years (sales have tripled) thanks to Michelin’s technological developments. This success can be put down to several other factors:
- Climate change and the occurrence of unforeseeable snowfall;
- Changes to European regulations;
- Benefits for consumers, who avoid having to purchase two sets of tyres;
- The development of vehicle fleets and leasing.
3. The boom in electric vehicles. With the growth of electric vehicles, tyres are returning to centre stage. The performance and constraints of electric vehicles puts much more of a strain on tyres than combustion-powered vehicles do. For high performance, electric vehicle tyres must have four essential qualities:
- Longevity, due to the increased torque during acceleration
- Rolling resistance, which is of crucial importance for autonomy
- Load capacity, which is essential for carrying the weight of batteries
- Noise reduction – 70% of the noise generated by electric vehicles comes from rolling as opposed to the engine.
“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 a major role.”
These requirements represent a unique opportunity for Michelin to showcase its technologies and know-how.
Facilities committed to far-reaching transformation
Media Day 2022 is also highlighting the transformations currently taking place in the Group’s plants. A few years ago, the Group initiated an ecological, technological and human challenge at its production sites.
Environmentally conscious facilities: Michelin halved the environmental impact of its plants between 2005 and 2019. The Group hopes to go a lot further in order to reach Zero Net Emissions by 2050, with an intermediate target of reducing CO2 emissions by 50% between 2010 and 2030. This challenge can only be met by stepping up the Group’s efforts in terms of conservancy and the transition to green energy.
Technological facilities: Michelin’s industrial transformation also involves digitization and the use of artificial intelligence. For the last 5 years, data has been stored for reuse in a collaborative environment. Plant 4.0 combines robots with artificial intelligence to heighten the scale of the transformation, making it possible, in particular, to anticipate breakdowns, boost production, and improve working conditions and the level of occupational qualifications. These innovations have enabled Michelin to generate almost 60 million euros of annual revenue. Some 100 million euros are expected in the next 3 years.
Human facilities: Empowerment is central to the Group’s social and human model. Over the last 15 years, Michelin has developed ground-breaking managerial innovation at its plants to overhaul the work of production teams. This major transformation is contributing to greater economic performance in the plants, and – more importantly – helping to make industrial professions more attractive. In addition, the Group continues to invest in enhancing the quality of social dialogue, in particular by establishing close working relationships with trade unions and employees, a method set to develop strongly over the coming decade.
As a world premiere, Michelin presents two tyres containing high percentages of sustainable materials
On its Media Day, Michelin took a new step by unveiling two tyres approved for road use – one for cars and the other for buses – containing 45% and 58% sustainable materials respectively. A concrete illustration of the Group’s ability to reach its goal of 100% sustainable materials in all its tyre ranges by 2050, they are a sign of the future production model technologies for 2025. These advances, which were made possible thanks to Michelin’s expertise in the field of materials, its R&D power, and its partnerships with innovative startups, will benefit all Michelin Group products. Including sustainable materials in the development of its tyres is a real undertaking by the Group, in which no compromise is made in terms of performance, and care is taken not to worsen the environmental impact of any stage in the life cycle – design, manufacture, transport, use and recycling.
“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 a major role. The innovative culture of the Michelin teams enables the Group to anticipate and invent solutions every day, so as to meet the expectations of its customers and society. We are confident of achieving our strategic goals – in, around and beyond tyres.”