LAS VEGAS (Nov. 3, 2005) — Michelin North America Inc. plans to launch 11 replacement sizes of the new Michelin Latitude Tour HP, an all-season tire aimed at luxury crossover sport-utility vehicles.
John Soule, Michelin brand category manager, light truck tires, said the tire already is original equipment on the 2005 Mercedes M and R class vehicles in 17- and 18-inch rim diameters and H and V speed ratings. The launch in May will make the replacement sizes available in the U.S. to tire retailers.
More tires in the Latitude family could come in the future, Mr. Soule told Tire Business.
Mr. Soule added that Michelin plans to support the launch with advertising in general and enthusiast media plus Web-based marketing. Michelin also plans a strong effort to familiarize tire dealers with the tire. While dealers see the emerging strength of the crossover market, Mr. Soule said a hurdle with dealers may be concerns about growing SKU proliferation.
"This is already going to lead to SKU complexity," Mr. Soule acknowleged, but he added Michelin is working to streamline the lines to limit the amount of that complexity.