Based on its recent analysis of the wide-base truck tires market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Michelin Americas Truck Tires with the 2011 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Line Strategy for developing a wide array of application-specific, robust products that help fleets reduce operating costs through fuel and weight savings.
The MICHELIN® X One® line of wide-base tires combines advanced rubber technology with innovative casing architecture to provide a unique solution to fleets and owner-operators, helping this relatively new product make the transition from a niche option to a mainstream one in the commercial trucking industry.
Initial concerns about the fledgling wide-base network—the limited availability of these products at dealerships meant longer downtime in case of tire failure—has given way to acceptance in fleets over the past three years. The key drivers for uptake are rising fuel prices and growing awareness about the advantages of wide-base tires, particularly in the fuel-sensitive Class 7-8 long-haul sector and the weight-concerned bulk-hauling segment.
"Michelin's continued commitment to spread the benefits of wide-base tires has led it to strategically improve the distribution and service support of these products across North America, enabling fleet customers to opt for wide-base tires instead of traditional dual tires," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Kumar Saha. "The wide-base tires market is currently estimated at 2 to 2.5 percent of all replacement and retread tire sales and has the potential to grow to about 6 to 7 percent of total tire sales by 2017, given the sustained high cost of diesel and stricter fuel-related regulations."
Michelin is perfectly poised to leverage the rising demand for wide-base singles for several reasons: the diversity of its product lineup, its strong product support network, and most importantly, its leadership in spreading awareness about wide-base tires and developing customer trust in the product.
The MICHELIN®X One® line of wide-base tires consists of six core products; four of these offer superior weight-saving options for highway drive, trailer, and vocational applications, while the other two enhance fuel efficiency for highway drive and trailer applications. In addition to the depth of Michelin's product line, the company has nurtured a wide customer base by providing industry-leading maintenance, replacement, and retreading support as well as fine-tuning its products to further augment value for its clients.
While Michelin's closest competitors have proactively increased their product coverage in the past few years, none offers the range of combinations and capabilities that Michelin brings to the marketplace. Compared with other tire makers' products, Michelin's wide-base tires have a greater overall range of technical enhancements that can tackle the challenges of every application.
For instance, the MICHELIN® X One® XDA® Energy features enhancements that make it the most fuel-efficient drive tire in North America, helping fleets save fuel for trucks that gather a lot of mileage, while the MICHELIN® X One® XDN®2 is the longest-wearing, best traction MICHELIN wide single tire, well suited to weight-saving requirements of bulk haulers. Michelin also offers similar wide-base options for trailers used in bulk and long-haul operations. For urban-centric operations that often go through extreme service cycles, Michelin has developed the MICHELIN® X One® XZU®S tire that can be used for all positions and are made with compounds that provide scrub resistance and stone drilling protection. The MICHELIN® X One® XZY®3 is the all-position wide single designed for weight and durability in on/off road applications.
This level of specificity allows fleet customers to match a wide-base tire to their operations, maximizing their fuel budgets while ensuring greater ROI through reduced tread wear. Further, Michelin's Infini-Coil technology™ reduces impediments to retreadability, a major concern in the trucking sector. By employing a continuous steel cable, this technology protects the tire against casing growth and uneven wear.
"In the face of current economic and efficiency imperatives, fleet customers acknowledge the collective advantages of Michelin's wide-base tires and are increasingly phasing X One tires into their operations," concluded Saha. "Michelin has leveraged this by solidifying its wide-base supply chain and making X One tires available at nearly 1,500 retail locations across the United States."
Overall, Michelin is poised to continue to lead this market since its product line is well ahead of its competitors. In recognition, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present the 2011 Product Line Strategy Award in the North American wide-base truck tires market to Michelin Americas Truck Tires.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed a comprehensive product line that caters to the breadth of the market it serves. The award recognizes the extent to which the product line meets customer base demands, the overall impact it has in terms of customer value as well as increased market share.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin (michelintruck.com) designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs more than 22,600 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.
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