The fifth annual meeting of the MFP partners, held by invitation of Michelin this year at Karlsruhe, had new performance standards for market progress, “Markt-Förderungs-Programm” (MFP), and current products as the main themes of its agenda. Approximately 500 guests had gathered under the slogan “Gemeinsam am Markt erfolgreich” (Successful in the Market Through Unity). Patrice Kéfalas, as spokesman for Michelin Germany’s sales management and the person responsible for the car and transporter tyre division, combined in his welcoming address the question: What added value can the MFP partner expect from the Michelin group? with a short résumé/look ahead, “We have increased our car and truck tyre production capacity considerably and improved price competitiveness. Now we are vigorously investing in our high-performance tyres. We shall also rejuvenate the Kléber and Riken products and their brand images. And we are doing all this with the aim of being successful with our partners and more successful than the competition.” The strength of the Michelin group with its more than ten per cent worldwide turnover growth last year also safeguards its partners’ future security, he said. Of increasing importance for the Clermont-Ferrand tyre manufacturer is the high-performance tyre market, not only because of the company’s commitment to Formula One. The market in fast tyres is booming, and Michelin is determined to emphasise its strong presence in this market with the new Pilot Primacy and Pilot Exalto. In order to be “successful in the market through unity” Michelin offers quite a number of solutions, which are described in the May issue of NEUE REIFENZEITUNG.
It is a well-known fact that Bridgestone does not stint itself in its Formula One commitment. For instance: The number of tyres carted to every race is 2,640 in two different compounds for dry and three different compounds for wet weather. Together with the costs of research and development plus marketing/advertising (which definitely accounts for the highest expenditure) it may amount to a nine-figure sum. In this context one has to ask: Cui bono? Or: Why do the Japanese involve themselves in Formula One at all? The current market share of the tyre giant in Europe is estimated to be about twelve per cent, therefore leaving room for further growth. And what would be more suitable for a Far Eastern tyre group keen to catch up in the lucrative European market than its omnipresence in the most important motor racing event worldwide (only in USA Formula One is met with relatively little interest)? When all is said and done: twelve of the 16 races are run on European soil. Takeshi Uchiyama, Managing Director of BS/FS Europe, describes his company’s objective, “We are determined to raise our global brand awareness”.To put it simply: If the Bridgestone logo is clearly visible every fortnight adorning streamers, bridges, vehicles, overalls, drivers’ caps and, last but not least, all the tyres, that must sooner or later penetrate the memory or consciousness of the mass media public. Ideally it also raises significantly the image of the brand as a low-profile quality tyre. And once this perception takes hold and people’s high opinion is tranferred to other segments, this reputation will not only benefit the high-performance segment but also other types of tyre.