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'Michelin Latitude Cross' offers SUVs off-road ability and on-road comfort

Michelin's new Latitude Cross tyre gives drivers of city slicker SUVs a chance to expand their horizons to enjoy the off-road experience their vehicles were designed for - with excellent performance both on and off-road.

Designed especially for SUVs, the Latitude Cross can handle the broad range of roads Australians use regularly, from dirt tracks to major highways and everything in between.

With the new Michelin Latitude Cross line-up, Michelin has married two distinct driver needs to create a tyre that delivers outstanding performance, both on and off the road.

* The Michelin Latitude Cross:

* Provides the same traction as an off-road tyre, and superior steering control. Its ability to grip in mud and to hold and advance on loose ground are comparable to that of an all-terrain tyre

* Offers the same driving comfort as that of a road tyre, even though it is intended for combined use--65% on-road and 35% off-road

* Carries passengers as quietly as the Michelin Latitude Tour HP, which is known for its smooth, comfortable ride - a tyre designed for 90% road useage.

* Delivers exceptional mileage through the innovative Michelin Terrain-Proof compound, which offers enhanced abrasion-resistance for a longer-lasting tyre in multi-purpose use (dirt, gravel, tracks) and with loaded vehicles

The Michelin Latitude Tour HP supports SUV drivers' ambitions and delivers the performance they expect from their vehicle. The Michelin Latitude Cross is part of the Michelin Latitude range, which has been entirely re-worked over the past two years and offers tyres for the most demanding off-road conditions to day-to-day road driving.

A unique combination of on-road comfort and off-road ability

Michelin conducted an in-depth study of the aspirations of SUV drivers, which confirmed that SUVs, although originally conceived for all-terrain use, are most often driven on roads. The study also shows that owners regret the lack of any truly multi-purpose tyres for their vehicles. Another study indicated that 64% of drivers are dissatisfied with the level of comfort provided by their current tyres. The new Michelin Latitude Cross was thus assigned an important mission: to enable SUVs to fulfil their owners' expectations by offering superior on-road driving while also delivering all-terrain performance worthy of the best off-road tyres. Only in this way can SUVs live up to their promise of being a genuine multi-purpose vehicle.

The features of the Michelin Latitude Cross

The traction of an off-road tyre

As the only point of contact between the vehicle and the ground, tyres play a crucial role in enabling SUVs to perform in low-grip conditions. That's why Michelin deployed its extensive skills to provide the new Latitude Cross with superior traction on loose ground:

* On muddy terrain, the Michelin Latitude Cross effectively grips the surface and expels the mud from the tread. The tyre also responds well when the driver accelerates in first or second gear.

* On dirt tracks, the Michelin Latitude Cross stands out with its ability to grip whilst going downhill and advance steadily on uphill sections.

* On wet grass, the Michelin Latitude Cross handles and holds well when banking.

The driving comfort and steering control of an on-road tyre When developing the new Michelin Latitude Cross, which is designed for 65% on-road and 35% off-road use, Michelin was especially attentive to driving comfort and steering control.

To resolve this problem, Michelin applied its expert capabilities to develop innovative solutions that enable the Latitude Cross to set a new standard for low drive-by noise on roads:

* The Michelin Latitude Cross is as quiet as the Michelin Latitude Tour HP, a tyre designed for 90% on-road use and recognized for its comfortable ride

* The Michelin Latitude Cross is quieter than its predecessor, which was designed for 80% on-road use

Outstanding mileage

By making longer tread life one of the basic features of the new Latitude Cross, Michelin has addressed a major source of dissatisfaction among SUV owners. But while the Group has long made increased tread life a top priority, today it is pursuing a much more ambitious goal. Backed by substantial research and development resources, Michelin has made improvements in different areas of tyre performance that are generally hard to reconcile.

For the Michelin Latitude Cross, comfort, off-road performance and tread life have been taken to new heights.

The new tyre delivers high mileage because of its special tread compound, which was developed using technologies applied to Michelin earthmover tyres. The rubber compound was designed to withstand abrasion caused by both on-road and off-road use (see fact sheet 3 for technical details).

About the Michelin Latitude Cross

Michelin used the full capabilities of its research and development teams and long history of innovative thinking to overcome the inherent difficulties in combining on-road and off-road performance.

* The new Michelin Latitude Cross integrates a rugged, heavily siped tread. Whether on mud, dirt tracks or wet grass, the Michelin Latitude Cross grips, holds and advances like a top-of-the-line all-terrain tyre.

* In terms of comfort, the tread blocks were arranged to reduce road noise. That's because Michelin is committed to developing off-road capabilities without sacrificing on-road qualities, and in this respect the Michelin Latitude Cross represents a significant advance over the previous-generation tyre.

* Lastly, the rubber in the tread was developed through a technology that has proven its worth in earthmover tyres--Michelin's own Terrain-Proof compound, which offers enhanced abrasion-resistance for a longer-lasting tyre.

Three Michelin technologies for multi-purpose use

The superior performance of the new Michelin Latitude Cross, on the road as well as on low-grip surfaces, is the result of three innovative technologies developed by Michelin R&D teams.

* The Mud Catcher tread, which provides excellent traction on loose surfaces, wet roads and snow.

* The Silent Tread design, which gives a unique curve to the tread block pattern that significantly reduces road noise.

* The Terrain-Proof compound, an abrasion-resistant rubber integrating technologies developed for Michelin earthmover tyres.

1. The Mud Catcher tread

Thanks to its Mud Catcher tread, the new Michelin Latitude Cross offers unrivalled traction on loose ground. This rugged tread integrates a large number of sipes, as many as on a winter tyre. The result is optimal grip that enhances traction as well as braking on low-grip surfaces like wet grass, mud or dirt tracks.

The tyre's shoulder also features a unique Mud Catcher design. With well-spaced, open blocks that extend far down the shoulder, the design gives the Michelin Latitude Cross tyre excellent grip and traction on soft, slippery surfaces and slopes.

The high void ratio (+10% compared to the Michelin 4x4 Synchrone tyre) and optimised tread block design ensure an excellent mud evacuation, which is essential for any off-road work.

2. Silent Tread design

The tread pattern on the Michelin Latitude Cross was designed to reduce road noise, a frequent complaint among SUV drivers. To achieve this result, Michelin developed two features that, when combined significantly reduce noise levels.

The specially tuned curved tread blocks of the Michelin Latitude Cross ensure that the tyre to road contact happens in a smooth progressive rolling fashion thus avoiding the taping/hammer effect which creates the high noise level of traditional Off-Road tread designs.

The design also allows for greater sipe density, which improves performance on wet surfaces and snow.

The shoulder area features many differently sized and phased tread blocks, the phase difference helps to reduce pass-by noise whilst also improving off-road performance.

3. Terrain-Proof compound

The new tyre's tread uses a rubber compound developed from technologies applied to Michelin's earthmover tyres. Called the Terrain-Proof compound, it is designed to offer outstanding abrasion-resistance. Already integrated in the Michelin Latitude Tour HP, this stronger rubber responds well in critical situations (acceleration, braking, heavy loads, etc.) and withstands damage caused by stones and gravel. As a result, the tyre delivers greater mileage.

The Michelin Latitude Cross size chart

The Michelin Latitude Cross replaces the Michelin 4x4 Synchrone--although the new tyre is intended for more off-road use--as well as the Michelin 4x4 XTT.

The Michelin Latitude Cross is available in 16 sizes and cover more than 65% of the multi-purpose SUV market.

Speed rating: T

Rim diameter: 15'' to 18''

16 sizes available in 2009

Marking: M+S

195/80 R15 96T LATITUDE

April 09