OSAKA, Japan (May 6, 2004) — Group Michelin has agreed to license its Pax run-flat tire/wheel system technology to Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., which will bring its Japanese sales and service network into the mix in anticipation of Japanese car makers' adopting the system in the near future.
Toyo, the world's 10th largest tire maker, becomes the fourth Pax licensee, after Goodyear, Pirelli S.p.A. and Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. Michelin also is discussing a Pax license with South Korea´s Hankook Tire Co. Inc.
Under the deal, Toyo gains rights to produce and market Pax systems for passenger cars and light trucks in OE and replacement tire markets in Japan.
Toyo has been developing its own run-flat tire, based on a reinforced-sidewall system, but said in a statement “the competitive superiority of the support-ring-type Pax System makes it a standard for future run-flat technology.”
In its statement, Michelin said the agreement ties into plans by at least two Japanese car makers to equip models to be launched later this year with the Pax system. Michelin said earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show that Honda North America Inc. and Nissan North America Inc. had opted for Pax fitments on as-yet unidentified 2005 model year vehicles.
“The agreement with Toyo will accelerate the adoption of Pax System at a time when the technology is beginning to become established in the market,” said Herve Coyco, a member of Michelin's executive board, in a statement from the French group.
“The agreement enables Toyo to acquire the most advanced run-flat technology and so gain a significant competitive advantage,” added Toru Matsuo, Toyo's vice president, in the same statement.