Michelins Cross Climate tyre has been a smash hit in Europe and is making fleet inroads

Michelin's Cross Climate tyre has been a smash hit in Europe and is making fleet inroads

Michelin says it is shifting its product landscape away from a blanket approach to one of increasing customisation. Speaking at the Frankfurt show, Michelin president, passenger car and light truck tyres worldwide, Thierry Chiche insisted the trend was rapidly gaining currency.

"We are presenting here five innovations and new products, Chiche told just-auto on the show sidelines. "For us, it really shows in the tyre world, the trend is accelerating. We are moving from the past, from one tyre for all to something that is more a tyre for each driver."

To understand that personal need, Michelin has been running 3,000 connected cars aiming to capture "billions" of electronic data such as braking, steering and acceleration.

Such information is allowing the French manufacturer to present its acoustic tyre, for example, at Frankfurt, aiming to address what happens as cars become lighter and quieter.

"It [tyre] is anything but a commodity - we are learning every minute every day," added Chiche. "Of course, there are some entry level tyres that give performance but we believe in Michelin we can propose much more than that. We believe there is value in tyres."

The passenger cars chief also hailed the penetration of Michelin's newly-launched Cross Climate product which saw the light of day at this year's Geneva show and which has already sold "in a few weeks" more than a million examples.

"It is already a hit. It is not a summer tyre, not a winter tyre, not an all season tyre. It is a summer tyre with winter performance."

To emphasise the importance of the UK, whose relatively benign climate obviates most need to fit winter boots, Chiche revealed Michelin had just inked a deal with energy supplier, British Gas for the Cross Climate tyre to be fitted on 12,000 of its vehicles.

"So we are signing fleets and we need to extend the range to light trucks," said Chiche. "We are testing the product in new markets to understand. In the UK, there are huge and significant fleets - a good thing with fleets - they are extremely professional.

"In the UK they want to propose safety, but they don't want the pain to keep tyres, because in the UK, it is not so easy to go from summer to winter [tyres]."