News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

April 25, 2008

Why Did PAX Fail?

Filed under: Run-flats — Notch @ 4:06 pm

That is a key question in the wake of Michelin’s announcement that it was ceasing OE sales of its PAX run-flat system. Michelin poured significant resources into this technology, which it compared to the radial tire in terms of its expected impact on the tire industry.

My own thoughts on contributing factors can be found here.

For another view, here is an analysis by Rita Gunther Mcgrath.

An excerpt:

While it certainly isn’t fair to retrospectively criticize the approach Michelin took to introducing this innovation, there were some trouble signs even early on. A Business Week article appearing on August 16, 2004, notes that the PAX tires don’t fit into conventionally designed vehicles. To use them, cars must be equipped with specially designed chassis and wheels. A PAX-friendly auto can’t take regular tires. What that means is that to get the tires replaced, customers must find an authorized PAX service center to repair or replace the tires. The lack of compatibility with pre-existing infrastructure proved to be a contributor to the products’ undoing.

As an addendum, it deserves to be said that the failure of the PAX system should not be interpreted as a trouble sign for the entire run-flat segment — in fact, it was in part the success of self-supporting run-flats that doomed Michelin’s support ring PAX technology.

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