Steven's Blog

Conversation with Nihon Michelin CEO

On October 19th, I conducted an on-stage conversation with Nihon Michelin CEO, Paul Perriniaux, at the Tokyo American Club for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the French Chamber of Commerce.

Here are a few of my takeaways.

1. The Japanese auto industry is not closed to foreign suppliers if you have a breakthrough product with extraordinary technology.

2. Having an R&D facility in Japan for joint development with customers makes a big difference.

3. Michelin has developed the lowest noise and superlative winter tires based on the exigencies of the Japan market. They sell well in Japan, but are also highly competitive worldwide based on technology developed specifically for Japan.

4. A foreign company in Japan can compensate for weakness in distribution by developing a direct relationship with end consumers of its product. Digital technology makes this possible.

5. The added services for your product can make it more compelling even when you are in a challenger position. Tires, for example, require servicing and maintenance. Fleets require service beyond just consumables.

A smart service strategy can help you leapfrog incumbent competitors. Click To Tweet

6. There are more Michelin starred restaurants in Japan than in France. Twenty-seven percent of the world’s Michelin starred restaurants are in Japan, more than in any other single country.

Check the American Chamber website at for future upcoming events with me. If you are a member, register with the Independent Business Committee to get announcements of my events emailed to you, or register for my newsletter.

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