Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila

ALREADY AMONG the leaders in the mass-market tire segment for eight consecutive years, French tiremaker Michelin goes after a bigger portion of the tire-replacement business with an affordable yet high-performing line designed for small to medium-sized vehicles.

The Michelin Energy XM2+, priced from around P3,000, is developed for “young, budget-conscious consumers looking for tires with safety and performance that last,” according to a company release. The company’s chief representative to the Philippines Michael Nunag said during the line’s recent launch that among the challenges is “to keep up with new subcompact cars which are getting bigger,” with tires that deliver longevity and performance. This move for the company surely makes sense as it noted that subcompact and compact car sales across the region (including the Philippines) continue to rise.

Already available in the brand’s dealers and associate dealers, the Energy XM2+ line banners a full-silica rubber compound which, reported Mr. Nunag, “actually strengthens the rubber molecules and filler (while making them) highly flexible to adapt to contours of the road.” The tread features full-depth, large channels to keep the depth of the grooves even when worn out. The design also effectively disperses water to prevent hydroplaning, even as it cuts down on noise.

He continued, “The ‘+’ sign on the sidewall denotes the rubber compound upgrade that is behind the braking superiority of the… Energy XM2+ versus its predecessor. The tire also maintains the green ‘X’ marking of its predecessor, indicating optimized fuel savings. We hope the combination of enhanced safety and superior value-for-money will particularly appeal to the younger consumers.”

The tire is said to deliver shorter wet-braking distance from 80kph to standstill (by 1.5 meters) when new, and even shorter braking distance (by 2.6 meters) when worn, compared to competitors. The Energy XM2+ has also been tested to last 25% longer than other premium tire manufacturers. These findings were revealed by independent testers TUV Rheinland Thailand Ltd and China Automotive Technology and Research Center Co. Ltd, whose services were contracted by Michelin.

Mr. Nunag asserted that the French tiremaker’s key design philosophy is safety while assuring longevity. “We’re pushing the boundaries… (to make sure) that this will perform down to the last millimeter of your tread.” He added, “I haven’t seen any manufacturer doing tests with worn-out tires.”

Replying to a question from Velocity, Mr. Nunag revealed that around 80% of the domestic supply is sourced from Thailand, and points to Michelin’s six-year worldwide warranty as additional proof of quality.

The new Energy XM2+ is positioned as being suitable for Philippine road conditions, and now becomes the entry point to the Michelin portfolio. A total of 36 sizes, from 14 to 16 inches in diameter, are available. According to Michelin, it should fit vehicles such as the Honda Brio, Honda City, Honda Jazz, Honda BR-V, Honda Mobilio, Honda Civic, Toyota Wigo, Toyota Vios, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Altis, Toyota Avanza, Toyota Innova, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi Mirage G4, Mitsubishi Lancer EX, Mitsubishi Xpander, Hyundai i10, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra, Suzuki Celerio, Suzuki Swift, Suzuki Ertiga, Nissan Almera, Nissan Altima, Nissan Juke, Mazda 2 and Mazda 5. For more information, visit www.michelin.com.ph.