|Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin|
|Address:||12, cours Sablon, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France|
|Subsidiaries:||BF Goodrich, Uniroyal, Kleber, Warrior|
Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin, based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, is primarily a tire manufacturer.
Michelin invented the radial tire design used by nearly all modern tires. In early 2005 Michelin introduced the innovative Tweel, a tire that uses no air.
Michelin also publishes a popular series of road maps and travel guides:
- The Red Guides: A guide, in several volumes, listing restaurants in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the UK.
- The Green Guides: A series of guides containing general tourist information, and are updated less often than the Red Guides.
The company employs about 127.000 people worlwide.
Travel assistance services
The Hotel and Restaurant guide (Red Guide) founded by André Michelin, first published in 1900 a restaurant guide to help wealthy, gastronomically-oriented individuals choose hotels and restaurants while travelling by the new medium of the motor car. This guide is the oldest and best-known European hotel and restaurant guide. Its restaurant ratings (one to three Michelin stars) are probably the most famous and influential gastronomic ratings in the world. The guide lists, in several volumes, restaurants in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the UK. Each guide is generally only available in the language of the country for which it is published. Although hotels appear in the guide, including some without restaurants, it is generally perceived as a restaurant guide.
The Michelin Guide has historically had many more listings than its rival guides, relying on condensed summaries and symbols to describe each establishment in as little as two lines. Restaurants rated with a star were allowed to describe three signature dishes. Recently, however, very short summaries (2-3 lines) have been added for many establishments. It still manages to list a lot of places, e.g. 9000 in France.
The Red Guide uses anonymous inspections and does not charge for entries; conversely a majority of restaurant and hotel guides are little more than advertising opportunities for their clients.
Michelin stars are taken very seriously in the restaurant business, where the addition or loss of a star can mean a difference in turnover of millions of euros. Some three star restaurants are able to charge hundreds of dollars for a meal on the strength of their reputation.
It should be noted that not all listed restaurants are rated 1-3 stars. Most have none at all, and only a tiny fraction are considered to merit even one star. (For instance, in the UK and Ireland 2004 guide, out of 5500 entries, there are 98 with one star, 11 with two stars, and only 3 with three stars.)
Founded on May 28, 1889, Michelin's activities date back to 1830 in the vulcanized rubber, then tyres for bicycles later for cars. Michelin owned the automobile manufacturer Citroën between 1934 and 1976.
The company identifies itself with the Michelin Man, which was introduced in 1898 and is one of the world's oldest trademarks. André Michelin apparently commissioned the creation of this jolly, rotund figure after his brother, Édouard, observed that a display of stacked tyres resembled a human form.
Today the "Michelin Man" is one of the world's most recognized trademarks, representing Michelin in over 150 countries. The Michelin Man's real nickname is the Bibendum, from the Latin sentence Nunc est bibendum ("Now, we must drink it") used as a slogan by Michelin in the early 20th century: the tyres were supposed to "drink" the road and give a smooth ride.
In 1988, Michelin acquired the tire and rubber manufacturing divisions of the American B.F. Goodrich Company founded in 1870. Two years later, they bought out Uniroyal Inc., a business founded in 1892 as the U.S. Rubber Company.