Michelin North America was greeted with both good and bad news in 1993. While the tire maker regained its foothold as the No. 1 rated original equipment and replacement tire in North America, according to J.D. Power and Associates' consumer surveys, the company was slapped with a United Rubber Workers International boycott of Michelin-brand tires.
The URW took its action in response to what it called Michelin's ``anti-union, anti-worker philosophy'' in dealing with the plants the company acquired in its 1990 purchase of Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co.
By year's end, it was uncertain whether the URW-initiated boycott had impacted Michelin-brand tire sales.
Problems between the company and the union came to a head when Michelin began renegotiating contract concessions from workers on a plant-by-plant basis.
When union members at U.G. Tire's Fort Wayne, Ind., plant refused to grant such concessions, Michelin issued a closure notice.
Earlier, the company had announced plans to eliminate at least 2,500 management and labor positions in North America by the end of 1994-without lowering production.
A Michelin spokesman said the cuts were necessary as part of the firm's cost reduction plan.
Also during 1993, Michelin Americas Small Tires revamped its sales staff and implemented a ``multibrand'' marketing strategy.
The company gained nearly 1,600 points of sale during the year by signing American Car Care Centers, Big O Tires Inc., Pep Boys, Winston Tire Co. and Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers.
Meanwhile, Michelin angered Canadian dealers by selling direct to General Motors auto dealerships in the country, offering them 48 percent off list price in the case of the Michelin brand and 50 percent off on BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brand tires.
The action has drawn a storm of criticism from Canada's powerful regional dealer associations.