Honda Motor Co. Ltd. will equip its redesigned Odyssey minivan, to be launched this fall, with Michelin's Pax run-flat tire/wheel system, according to Honda sources, who did not say whether the run-flat tires would be standard or optional equipment.
The minivan, produced in Lincoln, Ala., will be the first Honda in the world fitted with run-flat tires. Honda sold 154,063 Odysseys in the U.S. in 2003, an increase of 0.4 percent over 2002.
Earlier this year Michelin disclosed it had received approvals for the Pax system from Honda North America Inc. and Nissan North America Inc. for unidentified 2005 model year vehicles.
The Pax system, launched by Group Michelin in 1998, allows a flat tire to run for more than 120 miles at 50 mph. Michelin claims the tire never rolls off the rim, even when it deflates suddenly. The package includes a tire, a wheel, a flexible support ring inside the tire and a tire-pressure-monitoring system.
``Replacing such a big tire is hard work for a customer, so we think a run-flat tire will be very worthwhile,'' said one Honda source.
Using a run-flat tire for the Odyssey makes sense, according to Tsunemi Tachibana, an analyst at Nikko City Group in Tokyo. ``It provides a sense of security, which is key for a family car.''
The fitment would represent only the second for Pax in North America, joining the Rolls-Royce Phantom.