According to tire manufacturer Michelin, many key concept vehicles, sports cars, trucks and fuel-cell vehicles alike at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will be fitted with Michelin brand and BFGoodrich brand tires from Michelin. More than 15 concept and show vehicles have been assessed and equipped with special or custom-carved tires to fit the personality of each automaker’s vehicle. Michelin has partnered with several automakers to deliver tires for 2003 NAIAS show vehicles including Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Renault, Toyota, Venturi, Matra and Johnson Controls. “Although these projects are demanding, Michelin is a company passionate about design that seeks out technically demanding projects,” said Tom Chubb, vice president of marketing, Michelin Automotive Industry Division. “We get involved right from the beginning of a project, and design the tires around the look and personality of that specific vehicle.” Chubb added that Michelin’s approach is to either custom-carve existing tires or to mould new tires specifically for a vehicle. Moulding new tires allows Michelin to deliver tires that have the visual look in both sidewall contours, tread pattern and colours that the automaker wants to complement its vehicle. “For example, in 2002, the Jeep Willys2 featured custom-carved green coloured tires that enhanced the look of the vehicle,” Chubb said. “By using the tread, the sidewall texture and colour, Michelin is able to create some very unique tires that complement the character of the concept vehicle. We’ve carved in logos from the Dodge Ram to LEGO System blocks.” This year at the Michelin exhibits on the main floor of Cobo Center and in Michigan Hall, four vehicles — part of Michelin’s Challenge Design display — will be fitted with special tires. The Renault Vel Satis will feature the latest in PAX System technology with the 225/690R540A tires, while the Renault Koleos will be equipped with PAX System 240/800R560A Heracles tires. The Venturi Fetish, a unique touring car, will be fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport tires and the Matra P75 will feature Michelin’s special low-rolling resistance Proxima2 tires. A worldwide concept introduction from Honda will feature unique, custom- carved Michelin 245/50R19 tires, while a new concept from Cadillac will feature large 265/40R24 custom-carved Michelin tires. Elsewhere on the 2003 NAIAS show floor, the Chevy SS High Performance Heritage Sedan will feature hand-carved BFGoodrich P275/45R22 rear tires ready for the drag strip and custom BFGoodrich Tires are used to support the rugged performance and look of the Chevy Cheyenne. In addition, a number of major new production vehicles on display at the North American International Auto Show will feature the latest in Michelin Tire technology.