Greenville, South Carolina – 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 minivans 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 but which Michelin has revised to reflect a "wide variance" in treadwear due to the range of driving variables (e.g., driver style and behaviour, vehicle type/weight/horsepower, geography, temperature, road surface, 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.
Michelin North America graphic Michelin claims the revamped Defender outlasts competitors with more generous mileage warranties.
Michelin also cautioned that a mileage warranty "does not guarantee the mileage that you will achieve before the tires wear out, but it's Michelin's promise to provide you with support and credit if the warranty mileage is not met."
The revised Defender also features:
Maxtouch Construction, which Michelin said ensures that tire contact forces are evenly distributed to maximise tire life;
Evertread Compund, which the tire maker said is designed to provide exceptional durability for improved tread life;
Intellisipe Technology, designed to maximize the tire's biting edges for optimum all-season traction, while rain grooves evacuate water in wet conditions to prevent hydroplaning, Michelin said; and
Comfort Control Technology, which Michelin said works to minimize noise and provide a smoother, quieter ride.
The new Defender tire is being offered initially in just 12 sizes, ranging from 205/60/R16 92H to 215/55R18 95H, but will add 20 more sizes before year-end. The 32 sizes will represent 83- percent coverage of the targeted vehicle demographic, the firm said.
The suggested MSRP will start at $115 (€108) for a 14-inch size (not yet available) and range up to $210 for the 18-inch size.
The new Defender also complements the Defender LTX M/S introduced in 2015 for light trucks and SUVs.