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Pylon awarded Michelin license

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Michelin North America Inc. has licensed a Florida firm to make Michelin-branded wiper blades as part of the company's strategy to expand the Michelin brand into automotive accessories.

The Michelin wiper blades initially are being sold at Target Corp.'s 1,250 stores nationwide, Blain's Farm & Fleet 33 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, and Strauss Discount Auto's 100 stores in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Pylon Manufacturing Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., developed the Michelin-branded wiper blade line, the tire maker said, using Michelin's technical know-how and expertise in rubber technology. The blade line uses an innovative rubber compound that maximizes quality and performance, Michelin said.

The program to expand the use of the Michelin name is being coordinated by Michelin Lifestyle Ltd., which earlier licensed the name for a line of wheel- and tire-changing equipment. Other products in the pipeline include wheel and tire care products, car mats, safety and protective footwear, and bicycling accessories, Michelin said.

Pylon has been in the wiper blade business since 1968, claiming to be the pioneer of the universal blade refill concept.

Pylon, part of Qualitor Inc. since 1999, serves the aftermarket exclusively, supplying to retailers such as Wal-Mart Inc. and Target Corp., as well as replacement blades for DaimlerChrysler and Toyota Motor dealers in North America.

Among its achievements is a Gold Pentastar Award from Chrysler Corp. for supply excellence.