Michelin: A Leader in Tire Technology

JamesFeb 23, 2024, 09:25 PM

Michelin Group is a global leader in tire technology, established over a hundred years ago in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Throughout its long history, since the invention of the first removable bicycle tyre in 1889 and the first inflatable car tyre in 1895, Michelin Group has continued to innovate in tyre technology and manufacturing. Michelin Group is headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and has 114,000 employees in more than 171 countries. Its 70 factories are spread across 17 countries, producing a total of 190 million tyres in 2017.


Origin of the Name Michelin



In 1832, a French craftsman named Barbier Michelin and his cousin Dobrillie, opened a agricultural machinery factory in the centrally located city of Clermont-Ferrand. Since there was no automobile industry at the time and cheap rubber was the main raw material of the factory, Barbier could only produce some simple rubber products. Subsequently, he began to produce rubber hoses, rubber belts and carriage brake blocks, selling them to nearby towns and sometimes exporting them to Britain. In May 1889, the elderly Barbier handed over the factory to his eldest grandson, Edward Michel. Edward, who was engrossed in studying bicycle tyres at the time, was struggling to succeed on his own, so he pulled in brother Andrew Michel to join him, and officially opened his factory, naming it Michelin Company.


The Michelin brothers noticed that a pile of tyres of different diameters in the corner of a trade fair in Lyon in 1894 looked like a human figure. Soon after, painter Ou Jialuo created a special character made up of many tyres based on the shape of the pile of tyres.The "Bibendum" or "Michelin Man" was born. Since then, he has become a distinctive symbol of the Michelin Company. With his charming smile and adorable image, he has brought joy and happiness to almost every corner of the world for more than a century, becoming a well-known ambassador. Michelin has also gained worldwide fame. At the end of the 20th century, an international jury of famous artists, designers, architects, retailers, advertisers and publishers selected the Bibendum as one of the 50 best corporate logos of the century. In 2006, in order to better adapt to the naming habits of Chinese consumers, Bibendum was officially renamed "Mr. Michelin Tyre" in China.


Introduction to Michelin Group

Michelin Group - the global leader in tire technology, was established over a hundred years ago in Clermont-Ferrand, France.


Throughout its long journey, Michelin Group has been continuously inventing in the field of tire technology and manufacturing since the invention of the first removable bicycle tire in 1889 and the first inflatable car tire in 1895:

1、Removable tires (1891)

2、Inflatable car tires (1895)

3、Heavy truck tires (1908)

4、Low-pressure tires (1923)

5、Radial tires (1946) - improving vehicle handling, safety and extending tire life.

6、The first radial tires for Trucks, Motorcycles, Construction Machinery, Agricultural vehicles, and Aircraft (1950-1980).

7、"Environmental" technology (1992) - Low rolling resistance, fuel-saving tires.

8、Colored tires (1996)

9、PAX system (1998) - Makes zero pressure continued driving possible without compromising driving performance.


Aside from tires, Michelin also manufactures rims, steel wire, mobile auxiliary systems (like PAX system), tourism services (like ViaMichelin, GPS), maps and travel guides, in which its map and guide publishing is a leader in its field. The famous Michelin Guide turned 100 in 2000.


Bibendum, the Michelin Man, celebrated his 100th birthday in 1998. The Financial Times and Business Reports magazine together formed a jury in 2000 to select the best logo of the 20th century, which was composed of artists, communications experts, architects, designers from all over the world, with Bibendum being renowned globally and was thus selected for this honor.


Motor racing has been closely linked with Michelin's history for a long time. In 1998, Michelin celebrated over a century of car, motorcycle and bicycle racing. Michelin returned to the Formula One World Championship in 2001.


Today, Michelin Group has set up 75 factories on five continents and 6 rubber plantations; it has established research and testing centers in France, Japan, the United States, Thailand, and China, and set up sales and marketing operations in more than 170 countries. Each year, Michelin Group produces globally: 194,000,000 tires and 19,000,000 maps and travel guides.


Each year, Michelin Group produces globally:

197,000,000 tires


20,000,000 maps and travel guides


Michelin Group currently employs nearly 129,000 people worldwide, responsible for the production and promotion of various tire brands including Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Kleber, Riken, Siam, Taurus, Stomil-Olsztyn, Laurant, Wolber, Tyremaster, Icollantas, Hui Li and others. Michelin Group's global consolidated net sales in 2005 was approximately ?15.6 billion, with a 19.4% share of the global tire market in 2004 (source: Tire Business Magazine, September 2005).


On February 14, 2018, Michelin Group, a French tire manufacturer, released its financial announcement for 2017, revealing sales revenues of ?21.96 billion (about RMB 171.9 billion), setting a new historical high for the Group. The company's report shows net sales increased by ?543 million, attributed to a 2.6% growth in sales volume. The Company's net profit income was ?1.693 billion, an increase of 1.6% from ?1.667 billion in 2016.


In 1989, Michelin set up its first office on the Chinese mainland in Beijing. At the end of 1995, Michelin Shenyang Tyre Co., Ltd. was established. In 2001, Michelin (China) Investment Co., Ltd. was established in Shanghai. Michelin China has nearly 7,000 employees and three factories in China, with a sales network spread across the country.


The company ranks three hundred and forty-five in the 2006 World Brand 500 compiled by the WorldBrandLab. The company ranks three hundred and forty-one in the 2007 Fortune's global top 500 companies. It ranked 382nd in Fortune's global top 500 companies in 2012. In the 2018 world's top 500, Michelin ranked 478th.


Michelin Rule

In order to ensure the implementation of its own strategies, Michelin is also putting all its effort into improving details.


Michelin has designed a good system, such as employing a third-party company to implement a "mystery visitor mechanism". In 2006, Michelin made about 1100 mystery visits. Staff visits the stores as ordinary consumers, directly scoring all operation processes, which serves as a standard for Michelin's reward and punishment system.


To this day, Michelin has erected a pyramid structured distribution channel, with ordinary retail stores at the bottom, select retailers and authorised retailers in the middle, and Michelin flagship stores at the top. As of 2013, there are more than 2800 Michelin retailer partners in China.


All Along Service

In the face of the rapidly changing Chinese automotive market, tire manufacturers cannot remain hard and fast in their ways, they must be flexible in meeting market needs and services. Michelin, being flexible in its channel innovation, continues to lead the tire industry. At the same time, Michelin continues to study the market and channel, providing the best service to consumers. The service has over 500,000 members, covers over 200 cities in the country, has about 2000 participating retailers, has completed over 9000 successful rescues, averaging a rescue time of just 30.4 minutes.


R&D Center

Michelin started R&D projects in China in 2000 and decided to further assume investment in the R&D field in 2012 to better meet the Chinese customers' demands for high-performance, eco-friendly tyres. So far, Michelin China has three R&D institutions in Shanghai with more than 200 R&D personnel.


In terms of innovation, the Shanghai R&D Center has played a very important role in Michelin's global R&D network. Its most important task is to localize Michelin's products and technologies. The Shanghai R&D Center currently focuses not only on the Chinese market but also on other Asian countries and other continents. Michelin's engineers do not simply take the methods from other markets and apply them to China, but take into account the current consumer demand for tyre products, road conditions in China, driver habits and the development of the transport industry, and then provide the corresponding products and services based on these factors.


Michelin is the most innovative company, our original products are not only the radial tires for cars, but also the first snow tire, the first aircraft and motorcycle radial tire. All our innovations are customer-centric and are Michelin's fundamental philosophy.


Michelin Strategy Core

Channels are at the core of Michelin's strategy. In the past seven years, Michelin has opened more than 2800 stores at various levels, with the widest network among Chinese brands. Tyre certification was also first launched by Michelin.


Michelin's leadership position:

Firstly, we must maintain the consistency of tire store quality, ensuring that the service of each tire store is consistent. Michelin has a position known as the mystery visitor, who disguises as a consumer to visit the store, and the feedback is used as the basis for rewards and punishments. In 2006, Michelin made about 1100 visits.


Secondly, special services such as follow your journey, we hope to pass this service philosophy to consumers through tire stores.


Thirdly, Michelin provides a great deal of training for tire store employees to improve their work methods and service processes to better guarantee the quality of service.

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