By Yuzo Yamaguchi, Crain News Service/Automotive News
Tokyo-Honda Motor Co. will equip its redesigned Odyssey minivan, to be launched this autumn, with Michelin's Pax run-flat tyre/wheel system, according to Honda sources, who did not say whether the run-flat tyres would be standard or optional equipment.
The minivan, produced in Lincoln, Alabama, will be the first Honda fitted with run-flat tyres. Honda sold 154 063 Odysseys in the US in 2003, an increase of 0.4 percent over 2002.
The PAX system, launched by Groupe Michelin in 1998, allows a tyre to run flat for more than 120 miles at 50 mph. Michelin said the tyre never rolls off the rim, even when it deflates suddenly. The package includes a tyre, a wheel, a flexible support ring inside the tyre and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Using a run-flat tyre for the Odyssey makes sense, said Tsunemi Tachibana, analyst at Nikko City Group in Tokyo. â€œIt provides a sense of security, which is key for a family car.â€