(Article published in L’AUTOMOBILE Mechanics magazine, April 2024)

By Éric Descarries

Michelin, the legendary French tire manufacturer whose products are widely distributed on our side of the Atlantic through its subsidiary Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. spared no effort to make a resounding success of its Michelin Summit on Sustainability media conference, held in Sonoma, California, on March 13.

Several Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. vice-presidents were in attendance, but the most notable presence was that of President and CEO Alexis Garcin. L’AUTOMOBILE was able to speak privately with Mr. Garcin and ask him a few questions of interest to our readers.

L’AUTOMOBILE : We usually ask you about your involvement with consumers. But if you had a message to give to mechanics, salespeople and other people working behind the scenes in the tire world, what would it be?

Alexis Garcin: First of all, we should thank them and tell them how much we value their work. At Michelin, we consider them to be our partners. That’s why we want to provide them with the best possible product, especially the younger workers, for whom our current orientation will be most important in the future.

L’AUTO : And all this with the environment in mind?

A.G. : Indeed. The next generation is the one we’re counting on to run our business. Electric cars are part of that future, and we’re already making sure that all our tires are suitable for this type of vehicle, including our winter tires. What’s more, we have to ensure the safety of the next generation. Add to that noise reduction and above all the durability of materials, as we aim for 100% recycling of every tire by 2050.

L’AUTO : Of course, today’s customers prefer to pay less for their replacement tires, and are taking a serious look at low-cost products, especially those from Chinese competitors. How do you convince dealers to choose your products?

A.G. : Obviously, Chinese manufacturers are taking the market by storm, but keep in mind that electric vehicles will correct the situation. If you suggest cheap tires to your customers, you’ll have some explaining to do later. Michelin, which by the way has no sales network, has nothing to gain here. Safety comes first. When electric vehicles become the majority on our roads, we’ll have to deal with their performance, which will impose its own laws. We’re talking here about weight, acceleration, deceleration and recycling. So we need to evolve.

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