New Michelin tires for fast-moving premium market [China Daily: Hong Kong Edition]
(China Daily: Hong Kong Edition Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) French tire manufacturer Michelin Group put another two high-performance products on the Chinese market on July 16 to further tap growing opportunities in the premium segment.
"The number of consumers seeking premium driving pleasure in China and across the globe is increasing," said Matthew Ye, vice-president and marketing director of Michelin (China) Investment Co.
The release of the brand-new Michelin Latitude Sport 3 (also known as TM Sport 3) and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 demonstrates the French company's confidence in the Chinese premium tire market, he said.
"The global premium sports car tire market has grown 25 percent over the past three years," he noted.
"The TM Sport is mostly aimed at the rapid growth of high-end SUVs in China," said Ye. "Sales of SUVs have far surpassed sedans over the past few years, more than doubling from 2009 to 2013."
In 2012 China became the world's second-largest premium car market with annual sales of 1.25 million units.
According to an industry report released by consulting firm McKinsey & Co, China is expected to surpass the US to be the world's largest premium car market by 2016 with annual sales of 2.25 million units, a number projected to grow to 3 million units in 2020.
By 2015, Michelin will increase its high-performance tire production capacity by 70 percent compared to 2012 with the goal of capturing strong growth in the 17-inch and larger segment.
Michelin expects the number of cars with 18-inch and larger wheels will increase by 29 million units over the decade starting from 2013, with premium SUVs and sports cars the major driving force.
"Of course, the premium sports car tire markets in Europe and the United States are much larger than that in China, but the market demand for such products in China will increase with more and more global premium sports car products coming to the country," said Ye.
For Michelin, 50 percent of sales come through original equipment on new cars in the China market.
The company said that as the market matures, the proportion will get closer to developed countries where original tires account for one third and replacement tires two thirds of sales.
This year is the 25th anniversary of Michelin's presence in China.
Ranking among the world's 100 most innovative companies, Michelin spent 1.9 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in R&D over the past three years and filed an average of 250 patents every year.
"We are thrilled to have accumulated the same level of brand recognition here as back home in France, and we are committed to providing the best products and quality services to support China's sustainable mobility because innovation with passion is our DNA," said Ye.
(China Daily 08/04/2014 page18)
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