DETROIT—"Safe when new. Safe when worn."
That's the tagline for Michelin North America Inc.'s Premier A/S passenger tire featuring EverGrip technology, which the tire maker said allows the tire to maintain traction as the tread wears down.
Launched Jan. 14 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Premier A/S combines a new rubber compound designed for enhanced wet grip, hidden grooves that emerge as the tire wears down and expanding rain grooves that widen over time.
During a news conference at the show, Scott Clark, Michelin's chief operating officer, called the technology the "next great advancement in automotive safety."
"The typical family drives almost 20,000 miles each year with an average of two stops per mile," he said.
"That's more than 40,000 stops per year, and when you think about it, the tires are only new for the first stop. That's why Michelin has spent a lot of time thinking about how we can improve the performance of worn tires, because, quite frankly, we all drive on worn tires."
Michelin claims that a half-worn Premier A/S outperforms its leading competitors' brand new tires in braking during wet conditions, based on internal wet braking tests.
In testing, Michelin pitted the Premier A/S in size 215/60R16 V—buffed to 5/32-inch tread depth—against new Goodyear Assurance TripleTred A/S tires and Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus tires in size P215/60R16 V and 215/60R16 V, respectively. Stopping results were averaged from multiple test runs on specific days, the company said.
"We used to say our new tire is better than their new tire," Clark said.
"Now we say our worn tire is better than their brand new tire."
The Premier A/S—available in April in 32 sizes, ranging from 185/65R15 to 245/45R18—will be sold with a limited 60,000-mile warranty and will start with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $156.
The tire will be manufactured at Michelin's plants in Lexington and Greenville, S.C.; Ardmore, Okla.; and Pictou County and Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
In 2015, Michelin will expand the line with additional passenger sizes.
"For the all-season line, we're at about 45 sizes currently, and we're continuing to evaluate the market and see where there's growth and where we might want to add new sizes," said Tiffane Thompson, Michelin country operation marketing manager.
In addition, the tire maker is planning a fall launch of the Premier LTX, featuring SUV and light truck tires with EverGrip technology. Scott emphasized that the company will continue to introduce the technology in other tire lines.
"That's the intent, that not only over time will we see EverGrip technology in other tires here in North America, but quite frankly in Michelin tires around the world," he said.