Michelin Company History Timeline


Michelin was incorporated on 28 May 1889.

The Michelin Group was officially founded in 1889 when Edouard Michelin, the company’s founder, acquired a rubber factory that specialized in products for farm equipment.

In 1889 two brothers, Édouard Michelin and André Michelin, ran a farm implement business in Clermont-Ferrand, France.


In 1891 Michelin took out its first patent for a removable pneumatic tyre which was used by Charles Terront to win the world's first long-distance cycle race, the 1891 Paris–Brest–Paris.


The earliest Michelin tire took 15 minutes to change, but by June 1892 the time was down to two minutes.

Two years later, it bought Uniroyal, Inc., founded in 1892 as the United States Rubber Company.


By 1893, 10,000 cyclists had fitted with Michelin tires.


To show that demountable pneumatic tires could be used successfully on motor vehicles, the Michelins equipped a car with such tires held onto the rims by bolts and entered and drove it in the 1895 Paris–Bordeaux road race.


The Michelin man, a rotund figure composed of tires, was born around 1898.

1898: The Michelin man, or Monsieur Bibendum, logo debuts.


In 1899, it beat the world speed record only four years after the invention of the car tire.


Today, the remarkable foresight of the founding Michelin brothers has given the company a vocation that is as relevant in the 21st century as it was in 1900 – namely, to make driving, tourism and the search for unforgettable experiences available to all.

And it's actually for that last reason, traveling, that the Michelin brothers Ándre and Édouard started the Michelin Guide in 1900.


Competition was intense, with 150 tire companies in France alone by 1903.


The U.K. operation was launched in 1905, the Italian, the following year.

In 1905 came the acquisition of rubber plantations in Indo-China.


The company established its first foreign plant at Turin, Italy, in 1906 and today operates facilities in a number of countries.


Around 1908 they were starting to be fitted to trucks, using twin wheels to take the heavy weight, a system tested on Clermont-Ferrand buses.


As early as 1910 the company had started to publish road maps, the first maps of France especially designed for motorists.

1910: Company begins publishing road maps.


Cynics said the brothers were getting free publicity by setting an impossible task, but in fact the prize was won in 1911, on the third anniversary of its creation.


In 1917 it had introduced the Roulement Universel, or all-purpose, tire with molded treads.


In 1919, it took the name Driving Directions Office.


For two decades, all that information came at no cost. Based on the principle that “man only truly respects what he pays for”, a brand new MICHELIN Guide was launched in 1920 and sold for seven francs.


Thirty years later, in 1923, there was a car tire with pressure of 2.5 kilograms per square centimeter, able to cover 15,000 kilometers.


It wasn’t until 1926 Michelin started handing out ‘stars’ to the restaurants, and it wasn’t until a decade later that they solidified their three-star system.

In 1926, the guide began to award stars to fine dining establishments, initially marking them only with a single star.

In 1926, the guide expanded to the industry that made it famous — fine dining.

The first Michelin star ratings were given in 1926.


By 1930 Michelin was the 17th largest tire vendor in the world.


The restaurants, all of which were in France, were awarded a single star if they were deemed a “fine dining establishment.” In 1931, the rating system was expanded to become the Michelin three-star rating that it continues to be today.


In 1934, Michelin introduced a tyre which, if punctured, would run on a special foam lining, a design now known as a run-flat tyre (self-supporting type).


1935: Michelin rescues bankrupt automaker Citroën, running the company for the next 40 years.


Five years later, a hierarchy of zero, one, two, and three stars was introduced, and in 1936, the criteria for the starred rankings were published.


Michelin provided official maps for the French army at the outbreak of war, and more than two million were distributed to the liberating forces in 1944.


Michelin developed and patented a key innovation in tyre history, the 1946 radial tyre, and successfully exploited this technological innovation to become one of the world's leading tyre manufacturers.


In 1948 Michelin was the first to introduce steel-belted radial tires.

Michelin also had an eye on the United States, where it had started a sales office in 1948, targeting owners of foreign cars.


The radial tire, developed in secret during the German occupation, was commercially launched in 1949 as the X-tire, and Michelin had to expand its capacity rapidly to keep pace with the public demand for these tires.


Michelin was reorganized as a holding company in 1951, with interests in tires, other rubber products, and synthetic rubber.


In 1955 François Michelin, the 29-year-old grandson of Edouard the cofounder, became gérant, or joint managing partner, alongside head partner Robert Puiseux.


On Puiseux's retirement in 1960, François became head partner, and over the next 30 years, led Michelin to the number-one position in the world tire market.


François maintained this policy, and 1963 marked the opening of a new Michelin test center at Ladoux, not far from Clermont-Ferrand.


In 1965, however, Michelin entered into a contract with Sears, Roebuck to supply replacement tires for United States cars.


In the United States, the outdated bias-ply tyre persisted, with market share of 87% in 1967.


Also in 1968, Consumer Reports, an influential American magazine, acknowledged the superiority of the radial construction, setting off a rapid decline in Michelin's competitor technology.


By 1969, 30 million X-tires per year were racing off the production lines.


So successful did this venture prove that by 1970 Michelin was selling 2.5 million tires per year through its own United States outlets.

In addition to the private label and replacement tyre market, Michelin scored an early OEM tyre win in North America, when it received the contract for the 1970 Continental Mark III, the first American car with radial tyres fitted as standard.


Michelin was the first winner of a new type of race: the World Rally Championship (WRC) created by the Fédération Internationale Automobile (FIA) in 1973.


For almost 40 years, until Peugeot took it over in 1974, Michelin effectively ran Citroën and together the two companies made up the largest industrial group in France.


Michelin acquired a controlling interest in French car maker Citroën, which it held until 1975.

1975: Company opens a manufacturing plant in South Carolina.


Following its first Grand Prix win in 1977 with Renault and Jean-Pierre Jabouille, the MICHELIN radial tire became the Formula 1 World Champion sharing the honors with Ferrari.


Radial tires would achieve the ultimate cachet in 1979 when they helped Jody Scheckter drive his Ferrari to victory as the Formula 1 World Champion.


Uniroyal Australia had already been bought by Bridgestone in 1980.


Michelin introduced radial tyre technology to Formula One and won the Formula One Drivers’ Championship with Brabham, before withdrawing in 1984.


The M series, which appeared in 1985, offered a completely new range of state-of-the-art radial tires.


1990: Michelin acquires Uniroyal Goodrich and becomes the market leader in the tire industry.


In Europe, Michelin established its Euromaster service center chain, acquiring a number of existing chains across Europe and converting them to the Euromaster format, launched in 1991.


On the consumer front, Michelin introduced the "green tire" in 1992, capable of reducing pollution and increasing fuel efficiency.


Michelin launched the first low rolling resistance tire, the forerunner to the MICHELIN EnergyTM range released in 1994.


After setting up the Michelin Shenyang Tire Company in 1995, the Group opened production facilities in the province of Shenyang.


The company boosted not only its automobile tires, but also its heavy vehicle tires—in 1998, Michelin opened a new facility in South Carolina to produce "Earthmover" tires, such as the 3.92 meter tall low-pressure tire capable of supporting loads up to 600 tons.


In 1999, the company debuted a tubeless tire for mountain bicycles.


Yet the boost proved short-lived—by the middle of 2001, the dip in the United States economy, responsible for a dramatic dropoff in new car purchases, sent Michelin's United States revenues plunging.

2001: Company unveils new tire design for Concorde airplane.


Toyota joined F1 in 2002 with Michelin tyres, and McLaren also signed up with the company.


Michelin's high profile, especially in Europe, has come with some controversy, most notably when former French inspector Pascal Rémy released the book "L'Inspecteur se Met à Table" ("The Inspector Sits at the Table") in 2004.


Michelin tyres were initially uncompetitive but by the 2005 season were totally dominant.


The last race won on Michelin tyres in Formula One was the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso benefitting after the Ferrari engine of Michael Schumacher failed during the race.


In 2007, Casey Stoner on Bridgestone tyres won the world championship in dominating fashion, and Valentino Rossi and other top riders complained that Michelins were inferior.

Jean-Dominique Senard who had been one of the Managing Partners since 2007 became the sole Managing Partner of the Michelin Group.


As of 1 September 2008, Michelin is again the world's largest tyre manufacturer after spending two years as number two behind Bridgestone.


On 15 January 2010, Michelin announced the closing of its Ota, Japan plant, which employs 380 workers and makes the Michelin X-Ice tyre.


Since 2014 electric cars have been racing on Michelin tires in the Formula E single-seater street racing championship.


The Challenge was given a new lease of life in 2017 when it became the Movin’On by Michelin Global Sustainable Mobility Summit in 2017.


In December 2018, Michelin acquired Camso, a manufacturer of off-the-road tyres, tracks, and accessories for power sports, agriculture, material handling and construction markets.

Michelin had $22 (24.5 USD) billion Euros in sales in 2018.

To celebrate his 120th birthday, he got another more modern makeover unveiled in 2018.


Unveiled by Michelin at the "Movin' On 2019" summit dedicated to sustainable mobility, Michelin UPTIS, the airless tire, represents a major innovation both in terms of safety and respect for the environment.

In 2019, Michelin announced that plants in Germany and France are to be closed soon.


In July 2020, Duffy opened a new restaurant called Ever which has earned 2 Michelin stars.

2020 Universal Registration Document PDF - 11 Mo Michelin hails the France hydrogen strategy plan and reaffirms its hydrogen goals PDF - 166.65 Ko


Publication of 2021 1st quarter sales

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Michelin History FAQs

How Old Is Michelin?

Michelin is 134 years old.

Who Is The Founder Of Michelin?

Andre Michelin and Edouard Michelin founded Michelin.

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