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Michelin adds Pilot Sport A/S 3 tire

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NEW ORLEANS—Michelin North America Inc. recently rolled out the newest member of its Pilot tire family, the all-season Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3, at a ride-and-drive event for media at the NOLA Raceway in New Orleans.

“The Pilot Sport All-Season 3 was developed to really deliver that passion all-season long for those drivers that don't want to park their car literally when the seasons change...,” said Jamey Fish, director of consumer experience marketing.

“...We know that people who drive ultra-high performance tires are really looking to combine maximum safety and all-season capabilities or all-weather situations with extended wear.”

Mr. Fish said the Pilot family is a full line of performance tires that have done very well in the marketplace. Michelin decided to create the Pilot Sport A/S 3 to continue utilizing innovation in technology.

“All-season tires, they're dealt a challenge,” said Sarah Robertson, product category manager for Michelin Americas Small Tires. “In reality, for the best dry stopping, for the best dry performance, what's the best tread sculpture? A racing slick.”

Ms. Robertson said an all-season tire has to deal with a lot of different surfaces, noting it can be troublesome having a solid mass of tread compound touching the road without anything to break it up—not even tread squirm—but still needing to perform well in wet and in snow. Michelin said it has created new technology for the “true” all-season tire.

“We need all these biting edges from the sipes,” Ms. Robertson added, “so what we do is with the variable thickness sipes.”

She continued: “You think about a perfectly smooth, dry tire: there's no movement.... They (all-season tires) have to deal with all these things. So to take the sipes and make them so they're not a liability in the dry with a lot of tread squirm, building a lot of heat—that's what we've been able to do with the new molding technologies.”

Michelin said the technological highlights for the Pilot Sport A/S 3 are its breakthrough level of grip, wet grip and resistance to hydroplaning regardless of road surface and cold weather mobility.

Touting the tire's “breakthrough levels of dry grip,” Doug Brown, ultra-high performance category manager at Michelin, said, “...we bring you that through the variable contact patch. We covered that in a couple different areas. And a tread pattern that's really inspired by the Pilot SuperSport.”

The Pilot Super Sport, which Michelin launched it in 2011, “established a whole new breakthrough level of grip that we have from this product offer,” he said, “and we continued that with the Pilot Sport A/S 3.

“We have a lot of silica in the tread compound. Silica is that tread element along with other aspects to give us that great traction for wet traction capabilities and the variable thickness sipes.”

Michelin set up four different tests during its ride and drive, including a dry autocross where the Pilot Sport A/S 3 was compared with competitors' summer tires.

The Pilot Sport A/S 3 tire is designed, engineered and manufactured in North America, at one Canadian plant and two in the U.S.

The tire will be available in sizes ranging from 175/65/R15 to 285/-35/ZR20 in late summer.



Watch the Jan. 21 NewsPoint at www.tirebusiness.com to catch more of what Michelin's Jamey Fish had to say about high performance tires.
To reach this reporter: jkarpus@crain.com; 330-865-6143.
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