GREENVILLE, S.C.—Michelin North America Inc. is relaunching its Defender line of passenger tires—on the market since 2012—with an H speed rating and a new tread compound designed to deliver more consistent treadwear.
Launched four years ago to replace the HydroEdge and Harmony lines, the Defender is targeted at owners of some of the most popular sedans and minvans on the market, including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Malibu, Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Focus, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Altima and Toyota Sienna, Michelin said.
"We know that many consumers make tire-purchasing decisions based on warranty and price, but tire warranties, unfortunately, do not always accurately reflect the actual wear performance of a tire," said Scott Clark, chief operating officer, Michelin North America.
"Our testing shows that specific tires from several leading competitors with mileage warranties between 80,000 to 90,000 miles will have a difficult time delivering the wear-life proclaimed by their mileage warranty."
Michelin will back the revised Defender with an 80,000-mile limited treadwear warranty, which is down from the 90,000-mile warranty available on the tire four years ago.
The tire maker said it has revised the warranty to reflect a "wide variance" in treadwear due to the range of driving variables such as driver style and behavior, vehicle type/weight/horsepower, geography, temperature, road surface and road terrain. Michelin said the new warranty is a more realistic reflection of real-world conditions, and cited independent research that shows the Defender outlasts many of its competitors in the marketplace with 90,000-mile warranties.