ALMEIRA, Spain (Sept. 28, 2001)—Group Michelin will concentrate its C3M tire manufacturing technology on the lucrative ultra-high-performance passenger tire and sport-utility vehicle tire markets, according to top Michelin executives addressing financial analysts and journalists at its test facility in southern Spain.
“For us, it [C3M] is revolutionary, it is a tool to enable us to conquer the market,” said Herve Coyco, head of passenger and light truck tires, stressing that in a stable overall market for passenger and light truck tires, demand in the SUV and HP sectors is “exploding.”
Michelin “did originally envisage substituting tire machines in existing factories” with the C3M technology, said Chairman Edouard Michelin, but it is clear now that “this is not the best use we could make of the machines.” C3M is “clearly perceived as a strategic tool for the group,” Mr. Michelin said.
Conventional tire plants have become both more productive and “much more flexible,” he added, so it is worth being adaptable and not limiting options, the Michelin chief said.
Because C3M is flexible, it will be “an extraordinary industrial tool,” and allow Michelin to tackle swings in market demand, and also to cope with a current feature of the automotive sector—mass customization. This means that the market wants differentiated products, ones which stand out from the crowd, but wants to pay the same price it pays for mass-produced products, Mr. Coyco said.