Michelin presents new Pilot Alpin 4 and Latitude Alpin winter tyres
Michelin has launched the latest version of its Pilot Alpin UHP and Latitude Alpin SUV winter tyres. According to the manufacturer, the new incarnations of its flagship winter products will set a new benchmark for the segment. With the tyres scheduled to arrive in the European replacement markets in spring 2012 (beginning around May), Michelin makes the claim that the tyres deliver “unparalleled results in terms of safety, mobility and longevity” by pointing to a raft of TUV SUD test results to back up its assertions.
While the Latitude Alpin comes in one specific pattern, the Pilot Alpin has two variants – one specially N-rated directional Porsche pattern and one asymmetric aftermarket orientated tread. For the first time the range of sizes extends to fitments of up to 21 inches in diameter. At the same time Michelin has virtually doubled the number of different stock keeping units it offers in a bid to position itself on the crest of the European winter tyre (especially UHP winter tyre) growth wave, that has been witnessed.
During the last three years, the European tyre market expanded by 10 per cent, from 259 million units sold in 2009 to 286 million in 2011, according to Michelin. The winter tyre market in particular grew by 50 per cent over the same period. In 2011, a total of 100 million winter tyres were sold across Europe, accounting for roughly a third of all tyre sales. Looking even closer the premium winter tyre segment performed even better, with 9 million premium and SUV tyres sold in the period – that’s growth of 82 per cent in three years.
To develop this performance balance Michelin conducted preliminary studies and invited more than 4,000 motorists in Germany, France, Russia, Sweden and Canada to describe their winter driving experiences. In this way, nearly 12,000 loss-of-control situations were compiled and analysed. Michelin directed its product development strategy on the basis of these data and what motorists said they prioritised in terms of winter tyre purchasing.
Further details to follow online at www.tyrepress.com and in the forthcoming April issue of Tyres & Accessories.