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Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin SCA history, profile and corporate video

 Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin SCA manufactures, distributes and sells tires. It operates through the following business segments: Passenger car and Light truck tires and related distribution, Truck tires and related distribution, and Specialty businesses. The Passenger car and Light truck tires and related distribution segment produces tires for cars and light trucks. The Truck tires and related distribution segment manufactures tires for big trucks. The Specialty businesses segment includes specialty tires for earthmover, agriculture, aircraft and two-wheel vehicles. The company was founded by Aristide Barbier and Édouard Daubrée on July 15, 1863 and is headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

“Michelin Group History

Two brothers, Édouard and André Michelin, ran a rubber factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France. One day, a cyclist whose pneumatic tyre needed repair turned up at the factory. The tyre was glued to the rim, and it took over three hours to remove and repair the tyre, which then needed to be left overnight to dry. The next day, Édouard Michelin took the repaired bicycle into the factory yard to test. After only a few hundred metres, the tyre failed. Despite the setback, Édouard was enthusiastic about the pneumatic tyre, and he and his brother worked on creating their own version, one that did not need to be glued to the rim. Michelin was incorporated on 28 May 1888. In 1891, it took out its first patent for a removable pneumatic tyre which was used by Charles Terront to win the world’s first long distance cycle race, the 1891 Paris–Brest–Paris.

Michelin has made a number of innovations to tyres, including in 1946 the radial tyre (then known as the “X” tyre). It was developed with the front-wheel-drive Citroën Traction Avantand Citroën 2CV in mind. Michelin had bought the then bankrupt Citroën in the 1930s. As of August 2008, this tyre is still available for the 2CV. In 1934, Michelin introduced a tyre, which if punctured, would run on a special foam lining, now known as a run-flat tyre (self-supporting type).

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.

In 1988, Michelin acquired the tyre and rubber manufacturing divisions of the American B.F. Goodrich Company founded in 1870. This included the Norwood, North Carolinamanufacturing plant which supplied tyres to the U.S. Space Shuttle Program. Two years later, it bought Uniroyal, Inc., founded in 1892 as the United States Rubber Company. Uniroyal Australia had already been bought by Bridgestone in 1980.

Michelin also controls 90% of Taurus Tire in Hungary, as well as Kormoran, a Polish brand.

As of 1 September 2008, Michelin is again the world’s largest tyre manufacturer after spending two years as number two behind Bridgestone. Michelin produces tyres in France, Spain, Germany, the USA, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Thailand, Japan, 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.

Motorsports

MotoGP

Michelin participated in MotoGP from 1972 to 2008. They introduced radial construction to MotoGP in 1984, and multi-compound tyres in 1994. They achieved 360 victories in 36 years, and from 1993 to 2006, the world championship had gone to a rider on Michelins.

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 threatened to impose a control tyre on the series, after which Bridgestone relented.

In 2008, Michelin’s tyres continued to be perceived as being inferior to Bridgestone’s, and 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 FIMannounced 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 have confirmed their return to MotoGP as of the 2016 season as official tyre supplier after Bridgestone’s withdrawal from the series at the end of the 2015 season.

Formula One

Michelin first competed in the 1977 Formula One season, when Renault started development of their turbocharged F1 car. Michelin introduced radial tyre technology to Formula One and won the Formula One Drivers’ Championship with Brabham, before withdrawing in 1984.

The company returned to Formula One in 2001, supplying the Williams, Jaguar, Benetton (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 totally 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 supplies 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 the2005 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 boss Édouard 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 benefitting after the 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 wins for Michelin since this event’s inception back in the 1958 Formula One season; Michelin’s other wins were in the 1979, and 1984 seasons.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “Michelin