After two years on the second step of the podium, Michelin regain its title of world's No. 1 tyre. The rankings, published Monday 1st September by the magazine American Tire Business, however, indicates that the gap with the Japanese Bridgestone which retrograde in the second position remains very thin: clermontois the group has made in 2007, a turnover of 21, 8 billion (15 billion euros) against 21.5 billion dollars for the Japanese manufacturer. They hold respectively 17.1% and 16.9% of the global market.

Tire Business notes that "Michelin is entirely its first seat at the evolution of currency parities." From 2006 to 2007, the euro was indeed more strongly appreciated against the dollar as did the yen. The advantage of course, the group french half of the activity relates to the European market.

Standing on the sidelines of the driven cross-Michelin and Bridgestone, Goodyear American group retains its immutable third place with $ 18.9 billion turnover. Far behind, German and Italian Continental Pirelli always occupy the 4th and 5th places, respectively with 7.5 and 5.7 billion dollars.

Despite the stability of the front runners, the tyre market registers a profound change. Thus in 2007 the combined market share of the first three tire manufacturers has fallen to below 50% to 49%. It was still 50.4% last year after peaking at almost 60% in early 2000.

Deriving from the last century, this order is now challenged by manufacturers in Asia. The South Korean Hankook (8th place) and Kumho (10th) show phenomenal growth rates. The latter, who weighed only 1.5 billion dollars in 2004, is now one of 12 companies whose activity exceeds 2 billion. He announced his intention to become the 5th place in the years ahead. Totally unknown just a few years ago, the Taiwanese Maxxis between this year in the club's first 12. It is closely by the Chinese Triangle and Hangzhou (1.3 billion turnover each).

Faced with the rise of Asian firms, Michelin has made 'expansion into new markets' one of its strategic priorities. Like its main rivals by the way.

Tire Business is so, despite an economy more uncertain on Western markets, a level of investment 'breathtaking' designed to follow a tyre market increase of 13% in 2008.