Michelin launches its ‘recession’ tyre
During a press conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michelin North America’s recently appointed chairman and president Pete Selleck introduced the tyre maker’s latest product for a North America still feeling the effect of what some have dubbed the “Great Recession”. Called the Defender, the new passenger car range has been described by Selleck as a “product that meets the demands of Americans who are enduring difficult economic times and are insisting on top value for their money in a way not seen for decades.”
The top man at Michelin North America says that with the Defender, consumers “have a safe tyre that lasts longer.” Michelin claims it anticipated that the need for “a tyre that does more for less” would arise and therefore began work on such a product; in a release announcing the Defender’s introduction, the tyre maker says its engineers “were hard at work during the depths of the recent economic crisis to create a new standard in performance that could empower the family car to go farther and safer, while offering better fuel economy than ever imagined, all at a competitive price point.”
The result is a tyre that Michelin North America says is the “best standard passenger car tyre the company has ever made.” The company says the Defender range is “designed for the American family” and fitments for virtually every standard passenger car on the road today are available. Echoing the “balance of performance” claims made during the European launch of the Primacy 3 last October, Michelin says the Defender “combines safety, longevity and fuel-efficiency in one high-performing tyre, without having to sacrifice one performance for another.”
Michelin says the Defender incorporates many of its latest technical advancements, including IntelliSipe Technology, which combines 3D Active Sipes and Variable Thickness sipes. IntelliSipe Technology is described as an optimisation of the number of sipes within the tyre, an arrangement said to provide additional grip for assistance in braking confidently. Also included is Michelin’s MaxTouch Construction, which, combined with the interlocking action of Michelin’s IntelliSipe Technology, is intended to deliver “impressively long wear life by providing exceptional tread block rigidity, while optimising the tyre’s contact with the road during acceleration, braking and cornering.”
Based on commissioned third-party wear test results that pitted the Defender against Continental’s Pro Contact ECO Plus Technology tyre in size 215/60R16 and internal comparative tests against the Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring in size 185/65R15 and Yokohama Avid TRZ in size 215/60R16, Michelin concludes that its new product outlasts the Conti tyre by up to 21,000 miles and stops up to 31 feet shorter than the Goodyear. In the area of fuel savings, compared with the Yokohama tyre, Michelin says the Defender can help drivers save up to US$250 in fuel over the life of the tyres, assuming a price of $3.50 a gallon (that’s 59.7 pence per litre, by the way, a price not enjoyed by UK motorists since 1997).
The Defender, which according to Michelin is designed, engineered and manufactured in North America, will be available as of April 2012.