Rubbers for the all-purpose machine

In Photo: Michelin Philippines Country Manager Michael Nunag explains the exceptional on- and off-road character profile of the new LT X Force.

Story & photo by Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes

NOWADAYS, with the looming excise tax just around the corner, customers are on panic mode flocking to dealerships nationwide to purchase cars at the best available prices possible. A recent report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines and the Truck Manufacturers Association showed a sharp boost in sales for the first half of this year, indicating this kind of trend.

As per the two automotive bodies, the total number of units sold is already 196,164, reflecting a jump of nearly 30,000 compared to 167,481 units sold at the same period last year. Eating a large piece of the pie are the commercial vehicles (CVs) with 128,984 units peddled. In particular, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups (known as light-commercial vehicles) dominate the said segment, while passenger vehicles trail by a large margin with 67,180 in sales.

In retrospect, specifically just in June, sales including both CVs and passenger cars reached 37,631 units sold, representing an increase of 37,631 units compared to last year’s 32,933.

With this in mind, Michelin Philippines is in a strategic point with the launch of their LTX Force—a new tire perfectly suited for SUVs and light trucks.

As their second product launch this 2017, Country Head Michael Nunag is elated about their newest prodigy, saying that the LTX Force is Michelin’s best on and off-road offering in the market that caters to multi-purpose use on all types of terrain.

“Based from the latest buying trend, Filipinos now are more into SUV’s and pickup trucks, particularly since they are more versatile and fits our road conditions in the country,” Nunag shared during one of the interviews.

“The Filipino now is into city driving and also doing activities outside the city. With this, it is really essential that they drive their vehicles using very good tires. One that provides very good handling and reduces road noise by notches better. In short, a tire which can best handle both worlds. In fact, the LTX Force sports that technology seen in the WRC [World Rally Championship] that provides great on and off-road capabilities. It’s basically two products in one,” he added.

As the light-commercial vehicle segment in the Philippines becomes more vibrant through the years with strong demands from both urban and rural areas of the country, the need for tires that can handle on and off-road driving is inevitably on the rise.

For Nunag, the Michelin LTX Force shows their company’s commitment in answering the customers’ needs and expectations with its CompacTread, BevelTread and CushionGuard Technology seen in the said tire.

“On a global scale, the SUV tire segment is growing larger in strategic importance. Over the past two years it has outgrown the passenger-car tire segment, and will continue to do so for the next five years.  Our target drivers are people whose lifestyle, location or profession demand driving on and off-road, and need the best experience on both type of terrain.   So the launch of Michelin   LTX   Force   reinforces   our   commitment   not   only   to   fulfill   the   needs   and expectations of our customers with multiple exceptional performances, but also to respond to ever-changing   market   conditions   in   order   to   remain   at   the   forefront   of   the   industry,” he conveyed.

For the last quarter of 2017, the prized tire maker said it plans to introduce more products with the local car clubs and conduct road-safety seminars, starting with UV Express drivers.