Michelin: The Global Tire Company
Most people associate Michelin tires as having something to do with Europe. This is correct since the company was founded and based in France. Michelin is more than that; it’s one of the two largest tire companies in the entire world. Perhaps the reason you haven’t heard that much about it is because it has kept the brand names of the tire companies it owns.
This company owns BF Goodrich, Kleber, Riken, Kormoran and Uniroyal. So if you’ve checked the brand of your tire lately it might actually be a Michelin owned brand. This is a very large company ending 2011 with 115,000 employees. It produced 184 million tires and had net sales of € 20.7 billion. Michelin has marketing operations in 170 countries and has 69 production facilities in 18 countries.
Since tires involve travel, Michelin also has another business producing maps and guides. In 2011 it sold around 10 million maps and guides. The Michelin stars is awarded to restaurants through the Red Guide is an initiative of this company.
The company was founded in 1888 by brothers Edouard and Andre Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The two brothers ran a rubber factory. By chance a cyclist dropped by their factory to repair his pneumatic tire. This incident led the brothers into tire manufacturing.
With France’s colonial past it was able to also do business in French areas around the world. It even conquered the U.S. with its purchase of B.F. Goodrich Company in 1988. Michelin has grown organically and through acquisitions. In many markets it has kept the brand name of companies it bought.
There doesn’t seem to a replacement product for the tire in the near future. So it looks like Michelin may have another 100 years of growth and prosperity.