GENEVA: Michelin to start Cholet CrossClimate production in 2016
Michelin's CrossClimate tyre will launch in May, 2015, in 23 sizes with further dimensions planned for 2016
Michelin says it will start production of its new CrossClimate tyre for 4x4-type vehicles at its Cholet plant in 2016 and is stressing the improving efficiency of its operations.
The French manufacturer unveiled its new product just ahead of the opening of the Geneva Motor Show this week, highlighting its fusion of summer and winter tyre technology.
Main production of the CrossClimate which is scheduled for a May launch this year, will also centre on other European Michelin factories, with two sites in Spain, two in Germany and one in Italy, while Cholet will use its expertise in 4x4 and SUV vehicles.
"This is the growing segment [4x4], in a specialised plant in Cholet," Michelin CEO, Jean-Dominique Senard, told just-auto. "As soon as this category will be launched, then Cholet in France will naturally be the plant involved.
"Our plants are much more flexible than they used to be, probably not exactly where we would like them to be. The Group is working on its competitiveness - we improved our cost base.
"Our competitiveness plan is moving in the right direction and in some cases, better than expected. We have decided to increase the pace of our cost reduction before the end of next year. We have added another EUR200m (US$221m) to the previous cost-cutting plan. It is the not the end of the story, I can tell you."
Senard described the new CrossClimate as a "real, real rupture in the concept," with the summer tyre having winter certification and using technologies previously thought incompatible.
It is approved for winter use identifiable by the 3PMSF - Three Peak Mountain with Snowflake - logo - indicating its ability to be operated in colder conditions including in countries where fitting winter tyres is a legal requirement.
Michelin says 65% of European motorists use summer tyres all year, jepardizing their safety in cold weather, ice and snow.
In particular, these numbers are 20% in Germany, where regulations require winters tyres to be fitted in cold conditions and 76% in France, where there are no regulatory constraints.