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Michelin Launches two New SUV Tyres in Australia

The new Michelin Latitude Tour HP and Michelin Latitude Sport, for a fast changing market

Melbourne,- Luxury and high-performance sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are a fast-growing category in Australia. SUV sales are projected to grow by as much as 43% in the next 10 years1. And most of the new registrations are for on-road crossover vehicles, including the very fast growing category of luxury and high-performance SUVs that did not even exist ten years ago. To tap this growing market, Michelin is launching the MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP and MICHELIN® Latitude® Sport, two new tyres that meet the challenges of more and more demanding SUVs.

Because SUVs are now used almost exclusively on the road, drivers expect their original equipment tyres to deliver the same behind-the-wheel experience as car tyres. In a survey conducted in Europe in 20052, most of them say they are unhappy with the uncomfortable ride and short tread life of their tyres. However, their primary concern is safety, and more precisely their SUV's handling on wet roads. Today, the MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP has addressed all three of these concerns by delivering longer tread life3, the most comfortable ride possible while delivering high standards in driving safety. The secret lies in three new technologies that work together to offer high levels of Longevity, Comfort and Safety without compromise.

At the same time, vehicle manufacturers are continuously pushing their SUVs towards higher performance, as illustrated by a large number of recently introduced models like the new Porsche Cayenne Facelift. This market mutation is also driving a change in the way SUV tyres are designed. This is why the new MICHELIN® Latitude® Sport was developed in close partnership with Porsche. It is now original equipment on the new Cayenne, while also being approved for use on most of the other high-performance SUVs.

"The >MICHELIN® Latitude® range of tyres demonstrates Michelin's unrelenting drive to offer innovative high quality products that meet the needs of SUV owners.MICHELIN® Latitude® tyres have been improved in key areas of tyre performance, without the usual trade-offs in other areas," said Mr Adam Storey, Marketing Manager, Oceania

1 source: Australian Bureau of Statistics - Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia, April 2007.

2 according to 2005 survey results, carried by an international research organisation with 4300 motorists with vehicles aged less than 4 years old.

3 on average compared with its direct competitors. The testing conditions of TÃœV SÃœD Automotive, independent test center, are described on page 13.

Media Information: Renae Hanvin, Mango Communications
T: +613 9254 3514
M: 0417 207 453

Michelin Information: Oliver Biggart, Michelin Australia
T:+613 8671 1025
M: 0417 566 383

About Michelin Tyres

The world's largest tyre maker, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tyres for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Michelin globally is presently represented in 170 countries, has 129,000 employees and operates 71 production plants in 19 different countries

The MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP

"For on road SUVs, it is the tyre which gives you maximum comfort and it lasts longer!"

While the Group has long made increased tread life a top priority, today it is pursuing a much more ambitious goal. One of the key objectives of Michelin is to find innovative solutions that improve each area of tyre performance independently. Backed by a research and development commitment funded at nearly 4% of annual revenues, Michelin is driving simultaneous improvements in areas of performance where normally there were only trade-offs.

Lasts 35% longer than its direct competitors*

This was the finding of impartial tests conducted on the market's two main tyre sizes in October 2006 and January 2007 by TÜV SÜD Automotive, an independent German technical services firm that performs certification tests and technical surveys for the automobile industry (see page 13). Among 235/65 R 17s, the MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP, tested on a Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI V6, lasted 33 % longer than the average competitor. The gap widened to 38% in the 215/65 R 16 size, tested on a Nissan X-Trail 2.2 DCI. This result was not just on average, either. In every test on the two sizes, the new MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP consistently outlasted its direct competitors.

*On average compared with its direct competitors. The testing conditions of TÃœV SÃœD Automotive, independent test center, are described on page 12

Translated into time, this means that, assuming the same conditions of use, if the direct competitors last on average three years, the MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP will still be going strong after four years.

Longer tread life with a comfortable ride

According to the Research International survey mentioned above, an uncomfortable ride is one of the two main complaints of European SUV owners.

A comfortable ride depends on two things--noise and vibrations. The MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP is 5% quieter and generates 5% fewer vibrations than its predecessor, the MICHELIN Energy MXV4+ tyres, whose performance was already outstanding in both areas--so much so that it was fitted to the first-generation BMW X5 as original equipment

Longer tread life while offering high safety standards

The MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP offers greater longevity without ever diminishing its safety performance. On wet roads, the MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP delivers a 5% gain in road holding compared with the MICHELIN Energy MXV4+. And again, Michelin has been able to increase significantly in the wet, without any trade-off on dry performances.

Technical characteristics

To achieve a balance between longevity, comfort and safety, the new MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP combines 3 major technological innovations that work together to improve all the areas of performance at the same time..

The Terrain-Proof Compound for greater mileage

For the first time, Michelin has developed an SUV tyre whose tread compound incorporates a polymer used in earthmover tyres. These are designed to resist the additional abrasion caused by rough terrain that would usually shorten the tire's tread life.

Engineered for maximum on-road performance, the Terrain-Proof Compound also makes the tyre suitable for off-road driving. More importantly, its stronger rubber offers superior abrasion resistance by countering the extra wear caused by rough terrain or heavy use.

It is this technological innovation that enables the MICHELIN Latitude Tour HP to offer longer mileage, whether it is used on high-stress terrain (off-road or on gravel, for example), in sporty driving or even when heavily loaded.

StabiliGrip sipes for safer handling on wet roads

Traditionally, the more sipes the tyre has, the better the wet performance as the sipes help to cut through the film of water on the road to ensure good contact of the tread rubber with the road surface. However, with conventional sipes, dry performance is affected as more sipes means less rigidity and more deformation of the tread blocks, allowing them to twist and fold over in the contact patch. This can cause the car to feel looser and make steering less precise.

Conventional sipes improve wet grip but make steering less precise.

MICHELIN® Latitude® HP Tour features the new StabiliGrip sipes, especially designed to be self-blocking. This innovation provides better control and grip in both wet and dry conditions. The StabiliGrip sipes are designed to lock into one another adding rigidity to the tread blocks so they close and lock under hard acceleration, braking and cornering. This gives the tread greater rigidity in the contact patch and high levels of safety in the wet without sacrificing dry handling.

With Michelin's technology, the sipes lock into one another to keep the contact patch rigid and stable.

Supple yet rigid structure for enhanced mileage and greater comfort

The MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP combines a rigid tread pattern with supple sidewalls and architecture that easily deforms offering a larger footprint and a greater contact with the road at all times. This ensures even pressure distribution so that the tread works evenly and efficiently to deliver longer mileage. Drivers can also enjoy outstanding levels of comfort as the supple sidewalls softens the impact of driving on uneven surfaces.

The MICHELIN Latitude Tour HP's supple yet-rigid structure spreads pressure evenly across the contact patch, from the inside to the outside.

Original equipment fittings on new SUVs

  • The Audi Q7
  • The new BMW X5
  • The Citroën C-Crosser
  • The restyled Kia Sorento
  • The new Land Rover Freelander
  • The new Mercedes ML & R-Class
  • The new Mercedes GL
  • The Peugeot 4007
  • The Porsche Cayenne facelift 2007
  • The new Volkswagen Touareg
  • The Volkswagen Tiguan
  • The Volvo XC 70

As well as the standard version, MICHELIN Latitude Tour HP is available in the ZP run-flat version.

ZP stands for Zero Pressure, a technology that reinforces a tyre's sidewalls with a special rubber compound. It enables even a completely flat MICHELIN Latitude Tour HP ZP to carry the vehicle load for 80 kilometers at a maximum of 80 kph. This means that drivers no longer have to pull over immediately in the event of a blowout.

MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP size chart

MICHELIN Latitude Tour HP is already available in 43 sizes, including the ZP versions.

  • 205/70 R 15 96H
  • 265/65 R 17 112H
  • 255/55 R 19 111V XL
  • 255/70 R 15 108H
  • 255/60 R 17 106V
  • 255/50 R 19 107V XL
  • 215/70 R 16 100H
  • 225/55 R 17 101 H XL
  • 255/50 R 19 107H XL ZP*
  • 225/70 R 16 103T
  • 235/55 R 17 99H
  • 275/45 R 19 108V XL N0
  • 235/70 R 16 106H
  • 275/55 R 17 109V
  • 285/45 R 19 107V
  • 245/70 R 16 107H
  • 235/60 R 18 107H XL
  • 255/50 R 20 109V XL
  • 265/70 R 16 112H
  • 255/60 R 18 112V XL
  • 265/50 R 20 107V
  • 275/70 R 16 114H
  • 265/60 R 18 110H MO
  • P285/50 R 20 111V
  • 215/65 R 16 102H XL
  • P275/60 R 18 111H
  • 305/50 R 20 120H XL
  • 255/65 R 16 109H
  • 285/60 R 18 120V
  • 275/45 R 20 110V XL
  • 235/60 R 16 100H
  • 235/55 R 18 100V
  • 275/40 R 20 106W XL
  • 225/65 R 17 102T
  • 255/55 R 18 109H XL ZP*
  • 315/35 R20 106W
  • 235/65 R 17 104V MO
  • 255/55 R 18 109V XL
  • 295/40 R 22 112V XL
  • 245/65 R 17 107H
  • 255/55 R 18 105V MO
  • P245/65 R 17 105 H
  • 255/55 R 18 109V N0

The MICHELIN® Latitude® Sport

"The reference tyre on Porsche Cayenne, also chosen for many other High Performance SUVs!"

Luxury and high-performance SUVs are a relatively new but fast-growing category of four-wheel drive vehicles, which are constantly raising the bar in terms of on-road use and performance.

One example is the Porsche Cayenne Facelift 2007, which was introduced in early 2007 and is already setting new standards in sporty handling and driving pleasure. And Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are all following suit, as seen in their latest models.

Delivering on the promise of higher performance, however, depends on tyres capable of meeting such new demands as improved handling on dry roads or better wet and dry braking, all without compromising performance in other areas as well.

Michelin has risen to this ambitious challenge, with the launch of the new MICHELIN Latitude Sport, which will equip most of the new Porsche Cayennes Facelift 2007.

The tyre was developed in association with Porsche, with whom Michelin has worked with since 1960. Their close relationship was deepened in 2002 when the German vehicle manufacturer chose Michelin as Worldwide Cooperation Partner for tyres, forging a partnership that covered development, marketing and motorsports. Porsche awarded Michelin the Best Supplier Prize in 2004 and renewed the partnership in 2005.

Technical characteristics

The new MICHELIN Latitude Sport has been engineered with two fundamental strengths: Michelin's unique expertise in motor racing and a purpose-designed technology.

SUV sport construction

By capitalising on its vast experience and success in motor sports, Michelin modelled the new MICHELIN® Latitude® Sport on the four grooved tread pattern and compound of the MICHELIN® Pilot Sport® 2, Michelin's benchmark street sports tyre.

Purpose-driven architecture for better contact with the road

To deliver high performance on a SUV, MICHELIN Latitude Sport had to be more than just a larger version of the MICHELIN Pilot Sport PS2. It is larger, heavier, and has a greater load capacity than a passenger car tyre, but nevertheless holds the road at high speeds as well as tyres designed for the fastest sports sedans on the market.

Achieving this performance meant that a number of major technological challenges had to be addressed. The heavier the tyre, the more centrifugal force is exerted on the tread, causing it to deform and reduce the size of the contact patch. Eventually, the car begins to lose its trim.

To rectify this, the MICHELIN® Latitude® Sport incorporates an innovative solution: a zero degree belt. The MICHELIN Latitude Sport's tread is reinforced by a nylon belt that is banded at zero degrees to the tyre rotation and extends further into the tyre shoulders to restrain deformations of the tyre crown area. This ensures the widest possible footprint - and greatest contact with the road at all times.

Banded-at-zero belt with shoulder overlay

The centrifugal forces generated in a fast rolling tyre are not exerted evenly across the entire tread width. Instead, they vary depending on the tread's blocks and grooves (see diagram below). The banded-at-zero belt is placed at variable pitches across the tread width of the tyre to even out the varying centrifugal deformation generated caused by the blocks and grooves in the tread.

The banded-at-zero belt represents a new improvement in the Michelin production process, applied for the first time on the MICHELIN® Latitude® Sport. The result: the tyre is able to resist deformations even at higher speeds, enhancing driving precision and safety.

Standard belt without variable spacing
Banded-at-zero belt with variable spacing

Original equipment fittings on new SUVs

MICHELIN Latitude Sport is already being fitted as original equipment on the following SUVs:

  • The Audi Q7
  • The Porsche Cayenne Facelift 2007
  • The new Volkswagen Touareg

MICHELIN® Latitude® Sport size chart (TBC)

MICHELIN Latitude Sport is already available in all of the sizes approved as original equipment on new SUVs:

  • 255/55 R 18 109 Y XL N0
  • 255/55 R 18 109 Y XL
  • 255/50 R 19 107W XL ZP
  • 275/45 R 19 108 Y XL N0
  • 285/45 R 19 111 W XL ZP
  • 275/45 R 20 110 Y XL
  • 275/40 R 20 106 W XL ZP
  • 275/40 R 20 106 W XL
  • 295/40 R 20 110 W XL
  • 315/35 R 20 110 W XL ZP
  • 295/35 R 21 107 Y XL
  • 295/35 R 21 107 Y XL N0
  • 315/25 R 23 102 W XL

Results of Impartial Tests by TÃœV SÃœD Automotive

Claims concerning the tread life performance of the new MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP are all based on the unbiased results of independent tests. The results come from a study conducted in third-quarter 2006 by TÃœV SÃœD Automotive, an independent German technical services firm that performs certification tests and technical surveys for the automobile industry.

All the tires tested for tread life were treated the same. The tires benchmarked against the MICHELIN® Latitude® Tour HP in comparative tests were all series production premium brands in the 235/65 R 17 and 215/65 R 16 sizes. All of them were subjected to strictly identical tests, under exactly the same conditions, on Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI V6s for the first size and on Nissan X-Trails for the second.

After their alignment and camber were identically adjusted, the cars drove in a convoy on open roads, applying a strictly defined rotation plan to neutralize any factors that could lead to biased results (such as the impact of different drivers or vehicles).

Aug 2007