TOKYO (Aug. 28, 2003) — Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. is discussing alliances with Group Michelin and other leading tire makers covering development of run-flat tires.
“Discussions are under way with several companies, and Michelin is one of them,” said Satoshi Takashina, a spokesman for the Japanese company. “But we have not reached any final decision yet.”
The company declined to comment beyond Mr. Takashina's statement, but among the world's largest tire companies, only Toyo, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd. are not linked into a run-flat development pact.
There are two primary run-flat alliances already set up.
Goodyear, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Pirelli S.p.A., and Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. are working with Michelin to develop, produce and sell extended-mobility tires based on Michelin's Pax system, which involves a non-standard inverted bead tire and multi-piece wheel.
The other alliance involves Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., which are cooperating on development of run-flat technologies based on existing tire and wheel fitments.
Additionally, Goodyear, Pirelli, Sumitomo and Yokohama continue to offer their own self-supporting, run-flat tires using reinforced sidewall technology to provide extended mobility.