Michelin will counter rising pressure from fast-growing low-cost Chinese brands in Europe and North America by increasing the number of cheaper tires it offers from budget subbrands such as Tigar, Kleber and Riken. The French company, which ranks as the world’s No. 2 tire maker, also aims to double its revenues in China in the next 10 years. Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard discussed both topics with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs.
Michelin is under pressure from Chinese tire makers in mature markets. What has been the effect in Europe and North America?
The pressure is not in every segment and not in every country, but it’s there. For example, in the passenger car business the import of Chinese tires into North America this year has been tremendous. There are also Chinese imports into South America and Europe, perhaps less so [than in North America], but it’s not negligible.
What effect does this have?
This tends to have an impact on the price structure of the tire business. At the same time, we are not playing on the same field. We are a premium company more than anything else. While we are clearly present in the [lower price brackets], we need to be there more than we are today without being in direct competition with these tires.