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Michelin leading the world’s tyre industry

The French company - founded in 1889 by Edouard & André Michelin is the market leader in the world’s tyre industry with the Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone (17.1% compared with 16.9% in 2008).

Michelin takes advantage of its strong brand awareness in France and throughout Europe.

Operating in over 170 countries, the group’s 2008 annual sales amounted to €16.4 billion with a net income of 357 million euros.

Michelin manufactures 177 million tyres per year in 69 facilities.  The group employs 112,500 people in 19 countries across five continents.

The tyre manufacturer’s strategy is focused on technological innovation. Ever since their invention of the radial tyre in the 1950’s, Michelin has been dedicating significant human and financial resources to research. In 2008, Michelin invested some 500 million euros for Research & Development, i.e. 3% of its sales - Michelin’s R&D investment is the largest in the whole tyre industry.  Moreover, Michelin’s R&D units employ some 6,000 people worldwide. 

Since the early 1990’s, Michelin’s has positioned itself as the « green tyre » manufacturers , their tyres are environmentally sustainable and save fuel.

Outside the automobile segment, the group is manufacturing motorcycle, truck, agriculture, earthmover and aviation tyres. 

Michelin is also well known for its activities in roadmaps, travel guides, and the Michelin fine cuisine guide.


Michelin’s history : 120 years of innovation and success

1889 Michelin & Co.  Edouard & André Michelin took over the family company that was manufacturing brake pads for bicycles.

1891 Detachable tyre.  Edouard Michelin invented and filed patents for a detachable tyre that can be repaired in a quarter of an hour.

1898 Bibendum.  André Michelin created the Michelin Man character in Bibendum.

1900 Michelin Red Guide. Michelin issued a manual full of practical information dedicated to facilitating travellers’ life:  35,000 copies of the first Michelin Red Guide are printed.

1905 United Kingdom.  Michelin arrives in the British Isles.

1908 Truck tyre.  The twin tyre invention allowed the development of the first trucks. 

1910 Michelin roadmap.  The first Michelin roadmap was issued at a 1/200,000 scale.

1913 Steel wheel.  Michelin invented the detachable steel wheel, prefiguring the spare wheel.

1923 Low-pressure tyre.  Michelin developed the first low-pressure (2.5 bar) tyre for passenger cars, with a 15,000-km mileage.

1930 Tyre with built-in tube.  Michelin patented the tyre with built-in tube, preceding the tubeless tyre.

1946 Radial tyre.  Michelin patented the radial casing tyre that was to revolutionise the tyre industry.  1949 would see the first marketing campaign for the Michelin radial tyre under the Michelin X brand model.

1965 Testing centre.  Michelin opened up a research and testing centre in Ladoux, north of Clermont-Ferrand, France.

1979 World Champion.  The Ferrari-Michelin partnership Team won the Formula 1 World Championship on Michelin radial tyres.

1981 Acquisition of Kleber.  Michelin became the majority shareholder of Kleber-Colombes (France).

1988 Asia.  Michelin started operations in Thailand and Japan.

1990 Acquisition of Uniroyal.  Michelin acquired the Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Company.

1993 C3M.  Michelin developed a new tyre manufacturing process called C3M.

1994 Green tyre.  Michelin developed a new range of silica-enriched tyres (Energy) allowing fuel-saving.

1995 Growth.  Michelin started a series of purchases first in Poland , then in Hungary, Germany, Colombia, and Romania…

1996 China.  Michelin opened up its first factory in China, and two more production units in Sweden and the US.

2001 ViaMichelin.  Michelin launched a travel assistance service on the Internet.

2002 Russia.  Michelin built a factory in Russia.

2005 Champion (bis).  Michelin won the Formula 1 World Championship, the WRC and the MotoGP.

2008 Energy Saver.  Michelin introduced the Energy Saver tyre brand model with even lower rolling resistance, allowing further fuel savings.

Competition / sports sponsorship

After claiming over 100 Grand Prix titles and winning 7 world championships with the leading team names - Ferrari, Brabham, Mac Laren, and Renault…-  Michelin quit  Formula 1 in 2006 because of discrepancies with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).  The latter planned to change the rules so that there would be only one tyre supplier for all teams.  On the same grounds, the group quit the MotoGP Championship.  Today, Michelin is mainly involved in endurance motor racing (24 Hours of Le Mans), and endurance motorcycle racing (Bol d’Or).


Motor racing

  • 24 Hours of Le Mans.  In 2009, Michelin won the race in the four car categories, and claimed its 12th consecutive title.
  • World Series by Renault
  • A1 GP
  • Speedcar Series


Motorcycle racing

  • Michelin is involved in the following championships:
  • Motocross
  • Enduro
  • Indoor & outdoor Trial
  • Endurance


Race car sponsoring

  • Michelin is a partner of the American Le Mans Series, and the Michelin X Green Challenge.