Michelin North America, Inc.
Michelin North America operates in the United States, Canada and Mexico with headquarter operations and plants in each country. This demonstrates Michelin’s long-term strategy of being close to its customers.
Michelin North America is a $10.76 billion dollar a year company operating 19 plants in 16 locations and employs 22,000 people. It manufactures and sells tires for airplanes, automobiles, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles. Michelin manufactures tires in six states: Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition, there are three plants in Nova Scotia, Canada and one plant in Queretaro, Mexico. Two plants specialize in the manufacturing of semi-finished goods taking raw materials and turning them into components for the plants that produce tires and one plant strictly produces synthetic rubber. Finished goods are produced in sixteen plants, two sites produce retreads for the trucking and one site produces retreads for the aircraft industry. Michelin Maps and Guides also produce road atlases, road maps and travel guides for all the major cities in North America.
Globally Michelin produces tires for virtually every category of the tire market. Michelin North America offers:
Passenger and light truck tires
Heavy duty truck tires
Recreational vehicle tires
Employment by country
United States 17,805
Employment by State
South Carolina 8,520
North Carolina 770
Michelin Plants by Product Type
Greenville, SC car tires
Spartanburg, SC truck and bus tires
Lexington, SC car tires
Lexington, SC earthmover tires
Sandy Springs, SC semi-finished products
Starr, SC semi-finished products, earthmover tires
Duncan, SC truck tire retreading
Covington, GA truck tire retreading
Norwood, NC aircraft tires
Dothan, AL light truck tire
Tuscaloosa, AL car tires
Louisville, KY synthetic rubber
Fort Wayne, IN car tires
Kansas City, MO aircraft retreading
Ardmore, OK car tires
Pictou County, Nova Scotia car tires
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia car
Waterville, Nova Scotia truck and bus tires
Research, Development and Testing
Producing the highest quality tires that deliver miles and miles of driving pleasure does not happen out of luck. It starts at the Michelin Americas Research and Development Corporation where innovation and technology collide with the real world needs of demanding consumers in a highly fragmented industry. Employing 960 people, many of which are engineers, Michelin’s R&D center in North America has been responsible for developing some of the finest products in the world to market, including the first 80,000 mile passenger tire for American-made vehicles. When a Michelin tire is on the road, it delivers a collection of benefits rather than just being good at one particular attribute. You get great handling, superior wet traction and long mileage without sacrificing comfort because the engineers at MARC are not content or satisfied with any sort of compromise or trade-offs.
Laurens Proving Ground
A vital extension of the research and development community is the Michelin on-vehicle test facility located in Laurens, South Carolina. This 3,300 acre site maintains over twelve special tracks of varying lengths and surfaces for testing tires, suspension system, driver training and event management. Tires are tested for noise, adherence on wet surfaces, gravel endurance, off road inclines, mud traction, vehicle dynamics like high speed lane change and drift. Used primarily by Michelin, the facility also offers testing for groups outside Michelin. Customers can conduct controllability studies, vibration analysis and chassis loading tests in a secure environment. The facility is also used to train law enforcement officers from South Carolina and North Carolina to enhance their skills in handling emergency situations.
Training, Sales and Marketing
A large degree of Michelin’s success in North America can be attributed to its sales force and its marketing group. Michelin recognized the need for an extensive training program in North America and began its efforts in the early Sixties. Michelin has long been recognized in the industry for having the best and the most complete training for its sales force. The current training center in Greenville, SC not only conducts sales force training but also plays host to Michelin dealer sales personnel from all over the country for training to help them become more professional sales people and better business managers. In every category of tires, the Michelin marketing teams are staffed with professional marketers, communication teams and research experts striving everyday to bring increased value to the consumers who purchase our tires.
As a core value, protecting the environment is pervasive throughout all facets of Michelin operations. It is a value that says growing market share or delivering revenue will not be accomplished at the expense of the environment. Whether participating and leading studies on the effect tires have on the environment, Michelin is concerned about every aspect of the impact its operations has on the environment.
Where We Have Been
In well over 100 years of innovation, Michelin continues to help define the tire industry.
Michelin has been a part of the tire industry in the United States since 1907 when it purchased the International Rubber Company in Milltown, New Jersey. Tires and tubes were manufactured there up until 1930 when the Great Depression took its toll on what had become the fourth largest tire manufacturer in the country with 2,000 employees. The Michelin North America as we know it today took form In March of 1950. With three sizes and two different tread designs of truck tires made with metallic plies, five people started Michelin Tire Corporation in New York City. There was an executive vice president, a vice president of sales, a secretary, a warehouse supervisor and one newly hired sales representative. The tires cost anywhere from 40-50% more than the competition but their construction with metal plies bonded to rubber allowed Michelin salesmen to offer a tire solution to fleets operating under the most severe conditions. This included fleets dealing with extremely heavy loads and in the sanitation business. This strategy established a reputation of durability and quality still prevalent today in the modern trucking industry.
Growth in sales led to the need for a larger facility in 1954. Developed in 1953, Michelin began to import the all-steel one ply radial truck tire in 1956. This is the tire that revolutionized the world tire market. There was interest in the radial truck, but the bulk of Michelin’s sales were the older, metallic bias ply tires. Even with steady annual growth, the annual sales volume in 1959 were less than a week’s production in a modern truck tire plant.
While the radial passenger tire had been gaining acceptance in Europe with car manufacturers in the late 1950’s, it would be the mid1960’s before it was factor in the United States. Michelin’s world-wide growth in the 1960’s was phenomenal with the opening of twelve new plants and the announcement that a plant would be built in Nova Scotia, Canada by 1971.
Two major events happened in 1966 that drew Michelin into the largest passenger tire market in the world. Up until 1966, Michelin had only been importing small quantities of radial passenger tires to service consumers with European cars originally fitted with Michelin radial tires. That year Ford decided the 1968 Lincoln Continental Mark III would have radial tires as original equipment. Although domestic tire manufacturers had purchased the license to develop radial tires, none were successful in developing a satisfactory radial tire. Ford then selected Michelin to be the supplier. This was a major boost for both the acceptance of the radial tire and establishing Michelin in North America. The second major event that made Michelin a part of the U.S. tire market happened when SEARS went shopping for a radial tire. In an effort to get ahead of its competition and realizing the impending radialization of the tire industry, SEARS sought out a supplier and ultimately selected Michelin for their reputation of high quality and technical expertise in building radial tires. By the end of 1969 expansion necessitated another move to a larger headquarters and the work force had expanded to 250 people. The sales force was now up to 103 people in the field.
Michelin had led a revolution in the transportation industry with the introduction of the radial tire. As the global demand for radial tires accelerated, Michelin responded with an expansion plan that opened twenty-three new plants, all producing radial tires. Michelin made the decision in the early 70’s to produce only radial tires and eliminate production of the old-style bias ply tires. Two plants had been opened in Nova Scotia in 1971 and it was announced that construction would soon begin for two plants in western part of South Carolina. One plant, US2 in Anderson, SC, would build semi-finished products to supply the other plant that would produce tires. The plants were scheduled to open in 1975 and the very first radial passenger tire came off the line at US1, Greenville, South Carolina on March 10, 1975. A third plant, US3, in Spartanburg, SC came on line in 1978, producing radial truck tires for the rapidly growing radial market in the trucking industry. Expansion in the 1970’s in the U.S. was completed with the opening of US4 in Dothan, Alabama. Along with the plants, a research and development was opened center in South Carolina because the corporation has always believed in developing products exclusively for a North American market where huge geographical distances demanded different tires than established European markets. In 1979, Michelin opened a new headquarters building in Lake Success, New York to accommodate a continuously growing work force. Michelin opened the decade with 250 employees and by 1979 the number was 7,000. Michelin had also expanded its tire lines dramatically from two types of tires that still required tubes to a full line of tubeless radial passenger tires to serve the growing demand for tires with greater fuel efficiency, longer life and better handling. In 1970 there were three types of truck tires offered and the 70’s ended with an expanded line of tires to meet multiple and various needs of fleet owners, from over the road long haul operations to fleets hauling rocks or coal. There were now radial tires for bread fleets and small package delivery fleets.
The 1980’s brought the challenges of consolidation and recession to the tire industry. Fully recovered from the effects of World War II, Japanese and European countries were competing toe to toe with American companies in a global economy. Many smaller tire companies were absorbed by larger ones because it was obvious that you had to get bigger in order to survive. Michelin had to invest heavily in the expansion of North America and it was not immune to the effects of the recession that hit the tire industry in 1980 and 1981. Serious losses were off-set by becoming more cost conscious and better planning. There was major competition to deal with now who were successfully manufacturing radial tires. Michelin has always been a resilient company and it came out of that period stronger and smarter. Two more plants, one in Lexington, SC and one Nova Scotia, were opened in the early 80’s. To consolidate headquarters operations and manufacturing, Michelin made the decision to relocate its North American headquarters from New York where it had been since 1950 to Greenville, South Carolina. The doors opened at its present location in September of 1988.
After a careful study of market trends and monitoring the actions of its two major global competitors, Michelin made the decision in 1989 to purchase the Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Company. This acquisition would not only make Michelin the largest tire company in the world, but would provide the corporation with a portfolio of strong brands with a rich heritage in the American tire market. Uniroyal and BFGoodrich Tire formed a joint venture in 1986 to leverage each others’ strengths in the original equipment and replacement market. Michelin went into the 90’s in a position to offer the best products at the best price point in all virtually every consumer category.
Where We are Going
We’re accelerating mobility and meeting energy, environmental, and human challenges at the same time.
Research, Development and Testing
Producing the highest quality tires that deliver miles and miles of driving pleasure isn’t luck. It starts at the Michelin Americas Research and Development Corporation, where innovation and technology converge with the real-world needs of demanding consumers in a highly fragmented industry. Employing 1,060 people, mostly engineers, Michelin’s R&D center in North America has developed some of the finest products in the world, including the first 80,000-mile passenger tire for American-made vehicles. Rather than focusing on one strong attribute, Michelin tires deliver just the right combination of benefits. For example, great handling combines with exceptional wet traction and high mileage together with comfort. That’s because Michelin engineers are not content with any sort of compromise or trade-offs.
Laurens Proving Ground
A vital extension of Michelin’s research and development community is the Michelin test facility in Laurens, S.C. This 3,500-acre site maintains 12 special tracks of varying lengths and surfaces for testing tires and suspension systems and for driver training. Engineers test tires for noise, adherence to wet surfaces, gravel endurance, off-road inclines, traction in mud, and vehicle dynamics, such as high-speed lane change and drift. Used primarily by Michelin, the facility also offers other groups test opportunities, such as vibration analysis and chassis loading tests in a confidential environment. The facility is also used to train law enforcement officers from North and South Carolina to enhance their skills in handling emergency situations.
Training, Sales, and Marketing
A large degree of Michelin’s success in North America can be attributed to its sales and marketing groups. Michelin has long been recognized by the industry for having the best and most complete training for its sales force. The current training center in Greenville, S.C., not only conducts sales training but also hosts Michelin dealer sales personnel from all over the country to help them become more professional salespeople and better business managers. Michelin marketing teams strive each day and in every category of tires to bring increased value to consumers.
Learn more about Michelin innovation
A Better Way Forward®
There’s a place where the road of tomorrow is being created today. From tires that make your car more fuel efficient and safer to production and recycling methods that reduce our impact on the environment. Michelin is striving to help you find a better way forward®.
Learn more about Michelin’s a better way forward®
As a core value, protecting the environment is pervasive throughout all facets of Michelin operations. It is a value that says growing market share or delivering revenue will not be accomplished at the expense of the environment. Whether participating and leading studies on the effect tires have on the environment or working to get membership for all the plants in the EPA National Performance Track program, Michelin is concerned about every aspect of the impact its operations has on the environment. To date, nine plants are members of the EPA National Performance Track program for environmental improvements beyond requirements. Michelin is one of the first tire manufacturers to have taken this step.
MICHELIN Challenge Bibendum
Michelin North America today
Since 1998, the Michelin Group has hosted MICHELIN Challenge Bibendum®, a global forum inviting hundreds of carmakers, energy suppliers, and technology associates as well as non-governmental organizations and politicians to help develop clean vehicles and sustainable mobility.
Learn more about MICHELIN Challenge Bibendum®