Goodyear and Michelin, two of the world's largest tire companies, announced today in an historic agreement that they will cooperate to provide auto manufacturers and consumers with significant new choices in run-flat tire systems.

Recognizing the growing demand of consumers for increased comfort, improved handling and the security of run-flat capability, the two companies will cooperate in the research and development of advanced run-flat technologies through a joint venture. Run-flat systems will also provide auto manufacturers with greater opportunities in vehicle design, use of interior space and styling flexibility. These innovations should lead to further advances in rolling resistance for reduced fuel consumption.

By contributing resources for joint run-flat research and development, Goodyear and Michelin will dramatically accelerate the availability of advanced run-flat systems for auto manufacturers and consumers. They also will provide auto manufacturers with additional sourcing opportunities as the two companies develop complementary but competitive products for their markets.

Each company brings advanced run-flat system experience to the joint venture, which will be headquartered in The Netherlands. Goodyear will license its extended mobility technology and pressure monitoring system patents to Michelin. Michelin will license the PAX System to Goodyear. These technologies will become the foundation for developments of future generations of run-flat systems.

One goal of the joint venture is to help address the concerns of drivers to better manage loss of air pressure. For many drivers, checking air pressure on a regular basis can be an inconvenience. For virtually all motorists, changing a tire on a busy road or in an unfamiliar location can be worrisome. Run-flat systems will give increased security and convenience by enabling users to continue driving on a tire without air pressure until it can be serviced.

To address consumer concerns, in 1994, Goodyear launched its Extended Mobility Tire (EMT). If a complete loss of air pressure occurs, the EMT tire, with reinforced sidewall inserts and a low pressure warning system, allows consumers continued operation of their vehicles until they can reach a service facility. This concept was designed to fit standard wheels.

In 1996, Michelin launched PAX System. It consists of four key features: a tire with a unique bead lock; a run-flat insert that allows the vehicle to continue operating if tire pressure is lost; a special wheel that accommodates both the unique bead and the run-flat insert; and a tire pressure warning system. Today, PAX System has become a new standard.

Goodyear and Michelin are convinced, after an analysis of other tire/wheel combinations, that PAX System is the best platform for incorporation of future tire concepts into new vehicle designs. Initially, Goodyear and Michelin will focus on accelerating the availability of the current PAX System. For those Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) customers who wish to have run-flat capability on conventional wheels, both companies will continue to propose solutions, utilizing EMT technologies and their improvements. An important research and development joint-venture activity will be to exploit the synergies in exchanging their respective run-flat technologies to develop enhanced solutions.

The agreements allow Goodyear to explore incorporation of its EMT technology into the PAX System standard while Michelin will take advantage of Goodyear's extensive background in run-flat technologies, including tires, pressure-monitoring systems, run-flat inserts and lubricants.

In addition, Goodyear and Michelin have agreed to promote PAX System, and its technical enhancements, to the OEMs. In order to accelerate the widespread commercial availability of future run-flat systems to consumers, the companies have also entered into an aftermarket agreement. The companies will offer consumers easy access to interchangeable parts through a qualified, global network of trained service technicians, when maintenance and service are required. To ensure vigorous competition, both companies will continue to compete in the sale of run-flat systems and the provision of aftermarket services.

Both Goodyear and Michelin will coordinate a consumer and industry information campaign to accelerate the introduction of run-flat systems and promote their benefits to all consumers worldwide.

Goodyear is the world's largest tire company. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, the company manufactures tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90 facilities in 27 countries. It has marketing operations in almost every country around the world. Goodyear, with the addition of its Dunlop tire joint ventures, employs more than 105,000 people worldwide. For more information about Goodyear, visit www.goodyearnewsroom.com on the Internet.

The Michelin Group (www.michelin.fr) and (www.michelin.com) manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the U.S. space shuttle. The group also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin employs 127,000 people worldwide and has production facilities in 19 countries.