One million and counting...
In just 10 years, the Michelin X One wide-base truck tire has gone from niche product status to widespread, mainstream acceptance, according to Michelin North America Inc. (MNA) officials.
MNA recently celebrated the sale of its one millionth X One tire with an event in Greenville, S.C., a tour of its truck tire plant in Spartanburg, S.C., and a coast down contest at the company’s proving grounds in Laurens, S.C.
“This significant milestone — along with the breadth of wide single products we offer — proves that the X One tire is now a mainstream solution for fleet customers,” said Francois Corbin, COO of Michelin Americas Truck Tires.
MNA introduced the X One to the North American market in 2000. Since then, the line has grown to encompass seven products, including the Michelin X One XDA Energy, which was unveiled last March.
MNA officials report that X One sales are up 50% over 2009 numbers, year-to-date. The trucking industry’s focus on fuel efficiency has contributed to that increase, Corbin told attendees.
According to MNA statistics, the use of X Ones has helped fleets save more than 63 million gallons of fuel over the last decade. The fact that the tire is lighter than two conventional duals remains a key selling point, as well.
“Clearly, fuel efficiency is a major topic for trucks. The market conditions are here to promote X One sales.”
The X One is available at more than 1,100 points of sale, including independent tire dealerships and truck stops, in the United States, according to Corbin.
Concerns about product availability have vanished, said Don Baldwin, product category manager, MNA. “I think with any technology, availability on the road is always a concern in the beginning. This is a very conservative market. It takes a long time for things to change.
“But when people got on the tires and experienced what the tires were like, they stayed with them. It was a case of getting fleets to try them and then within the fleets, getting drivers to try them.”
In North America, the X One is manufactured at MNA’s Spartanburg and Waterville, Nova Scotia, plants. “Spartanburg is by far the largest producer of X Ones,” said Corbin. “Today we have enough capacity to feed the market.”
MNA invited representatives from several major trucking fleets to the X One celebration. Several of them shared their thoughts about the tire with Commercial Tire Dealer.
Bruce Stockton, vice president of maintenance for Con-Way Truckload in Joplin, Mo., said his company is running X Ones on all of its 2,700 tractors. “We’ll be 75% X One on all of our trailers by the end of the year.” The X One allows Con-Way to save about 100 pounds of weight per wheel position, he noted. “We typically don’t gross out (in weight), but trucks, in general, have gotten heavier.”
Ron Szapacs, maintenance specialist, power vehicles, for Air Products and Chemicals Inc. in Allentown, Pa., also uses the X One for its weight saving benefits. “We haul liquid oxygen, nitrogen, etc. We load everything onto our scale.” ■
TCI unveils Track My Tread -- Management system helps fleets keep tabs on tires
Fleets now have a new way to keep tabs on their medium truck tires thanks to Track My Tread, a recently unveiled computer program from Michelin North America Inc. subsidiary Tire Centers LLC (TCI).
Track My Tread is a fee-based system that helps customers with inventory management, billing, tire ordering and other functions, according to Nate Kirian, vice president of marketing and sales for TCI’s Commercial Division.
Customers can view tire inventories by specific location and click on individual tires for more detailed information, he says.
“You can drill down to see the total cost of ownership, including all of the tire’s performance and cost history, like repairs, mounts, dismounts, etc. You will have the entire history of that casing.”
Track My Tread also automates the inventory replenishment process. “When a tire is taken out of inventory, it is automatically replaced with a purchase order.
“Even when a tire leaves the fleet, we can tell the customer, ‘You can see where the tire is,’ including what stage of the (retread) process the tire is in. We want them to know that we know where the tire is all of the time.”