Michelin Thailand Urges the Use of Radials
The Thailand division of radial tyre pioneer Michelin has urged local truck and bus business operators to switch to radial tyres in the interest of safety, cost effectiveness and environmental benefits. The president of Michelin Siam Co. Ltd, Prayong Hirunyawanich said that although the company has sold radials in Thailand for 16 years, their sales are still overshadowed by those of conventional bias tyres. Statistics show that about 1.8 million tyres are fitted to trucks and buses every year, but only half a million – 28 per cent – of these are radials.
The use of radial tyres is low because consumers are not aware of the products and they are turned off by the initial 30-50 per cent higher price compared with bias tyres, says Netiphand Hutasingh, Michelin’s truck and bus marketing manager. “Most consumers first think about their spending if they switch to radial tyres but they do not really know the benefits they will receive from the products in the long run,” he commented.
However, as Mr. Prayong pointed out, truck and bus radials outperform bias tyres in many ways. Radial tyres are designed in such a way that the tread is always in full contact with the road, providing superior grip and control. Furthermore, radials have shorter braking distances, reducing the occurrence of collisions. In terms of economy, the use of radials reduces fuel consumption, and twice the mileage can be obtained from a set of radial tyres than from their bias equivalent. This reduced fuel consumption and tyre wear benefits the environment as much as it saves money.
Michelin’s share in Thailand’s radial replacement market is approximately 12 per cent, and 40 per cent for OE. Mr Prayong also points out that Michelin offers a re-treading service for worn radial tyres. Re-treaded tyres, at 50 per cent of the cost of new tyres, will be potentially as long lasting as a new tyre.