Michelin vs Continental: A 2021 Analysis - Drive55 (2023)

Michelin and Continental, two European tire manufacturers that have been fighting for the leadership of the industry for more than a century.

Which of the two offers you better tires for your vehicle? That is what this article is all about.

An in-depth review of the pros and cons of each in different categories to help you determine which brand best suits your needs.

Michelin

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Strengths/Wins

  • Leader in user satisfaction
  • State-of-the-art compounds and processes
  • Ultimate performance without compromises

Downsides/Issues

  • Expensive

Continental

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Strengths/Wins

  • Industry-leading warranty
  • Unsurpassed grip in adverse weather conditions
  • Tires almost on par with Michelin's, at a lower price point

Downsides/Issues

  • Focuses more on passenger cars, often neglecting other categories

Michelin Introduction

The Michelin Group (Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin SCA) is a multinational company headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France manufacturing tires since 1889. Today it is the world's top tire manufacturer with distribution in more than 170 countries and with a line of products ranging from motorcycle tires to space shuttles and heavy equipment, and everything in between.

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Photo credit: automoblog.net

Known worldwide for its mascot Bibendum (the Michelin man), Michelin has played a key role in the evolution of tires. Among his greatest achievements are the invention of the first removable pneumatic tires in 1891, the first run-flat-tire in 1934, and the development and subsequent patenting of the radial tire in 1946. These astonishing achievements were not without setbacks. The Phu Rieng Do labor movement was most renowned during 1920-1930 when Michelin operated large rubber plantations in Vietnam.

Continental Introduction

Unlike Michelin, Continental (Continental AG) is a global company based in Germany that, in addition to manufacturing tires, is dedicated to the design and manufacture of a large number of automotive parts. These include brake systems, automotive safety systems, interior electronics, powertrain, and chassis components, and other necessary parts for the transportation industry.

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Photo credit: anewset.com

Regarding Continental tires division, the brand has a line that ranges from bicycles to automotive applications aimed at passenger and commercial vehicles. Its leadership in this sector has placed Continental among the three most important tire manufacturers in the world, after Michelin and Bridgestone.

Founded in 1871 as a rubber manufacturing company, Continental has brought valuable innovations to the automotive industry. These include the manufacture of the first grooved vehicle tires in 1904 and the invention of the detachable wheel tire in 1905. However, like Michelin, Continental has also experienced dark times. The most relevant was the use of slave labor provided by the Nazi Party during World War II.

Company Comparison

Before continuing, it is convenient to make a brief comparison between both brands.

Header

Michelin

Continental

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Where Are Their Products Made?

Tires for the US market are manufactured in Michelin’s own plants located in Dothan, Tuscaloosa, Covington, Fort Wayne, Kansas City, Asheboro, Norwood, Ardmore, Greenville, Lexington, and Spartanburg.

Tires for the US market are manufactured in Continental's own plants located in Barnserville, Mt Vernon, Sumter, Jackson.

Who Manufactures Their Products?

Michelin North America, Inc.

Continental Tire the Americas, LLC

Who Owns These Companies?

Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin SCA

Continental AG

How Long Have They Been Around?

Since 1889

Since 1871

What’s their Warranty Like?

Treadlife Warranty, 6 years plus a certain mileage (variable depending on model), Uniformity Warranty 1-year of use or the first 2/32" of wear, Workmanship & Materials Warranty 6-years, Road Hazard Warranty (variable depending on model), Special Manufacturer Warranty.

Treadlife Warranty, 6 years plus a certain mileage (variable depending on model), Uniformity Warranty 1-year of use or the first 2/32" of wear, Workmanship & Materials Warranty 6-years, Road Hazard Warranty (variable depending on model), Special Manufacturer Warranty.

What Michelin Does Better Than Continental

Michelin has stood out since its inception as a brand with great emphasis on innovation. This has led it to invest like no other tire manufacturer in the world in R&D. The fruits of this effort are revolutionary compounds, cutting-edge tread designs, and unsurpassed quality.

Moreover, by staying at the forefront of industry innovation, Michelin has managed to maintain an edge over Continental and the rest of the manufacturers in terms of performance, ride quality, and durability.

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Photo credit: michelin.com

The recent study by J.D. Power, “2021 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study” is proof of this. In this study, Michelin established itself as the brand with the highest customer satisfaction level in the luxury, passenger car, performance sport, and truck/utility segments, crushing all the competition. On the other hand, the higher position achieved by Continental was in the passenger car segment, where it ranked 4 behind Michelin, Goodyear, and Kumho.

Another aspect in which Michelin is ahead of Continental has to do with its passion for offering the best tires in every market segment. Although Continental leads Michelin in the number of available tire models (59 vs. 53), its main emphasis has traditionally been the passenger car segment, neglecting others such as SUVs for example.

In short, its superior quality and performance, along with its unsurpassed comfort, make Michelin the ideal tire for luxury vehicles, high-performance sports cars, and drivers looking for the most advanced tires on the market.

What Continental Does Better Than Michelin

Just because Michelin outperforms Continental in several departments does not mean that Conti tires should be underestimated. We are talking that Continental is currently the OE provider of such prestigious brands as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and the Volkswagen Group, among others.

With over 150 years of experience in the industry, Continental tires are known for their excellent quality, state-of-the-art materials and processes, and durability.

That said, Continental's strategy to stand out from Michelin has several fronts. On the one hand, Continental offers a wide variety of tires in the passenger car sector, which is the most representative in terms of volume. On the other hand, it offers an exceptional warranty, on par with Michelin's and, in some cases, even better, since it includes Roadside Assistance with flat tires. Last but not least, Continental tires are usually cheaper than Michelin.

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Photo credit: rubbernews.com

On top of all this, Continental tires generally perform better in adverse weather conditions, which is why many drivers perceive them as "safer."

Take, for example, the TrueContact Tour, which is ranked 2nd in Tire Rack'sStandard Touring All-Season segment, while the Michelin Defender T+H is ranked 4th. The same applies to the Continental TerrainContact H/T, third in the Highway All-Season segment just behind the Michelin Agilis CrossClimate. In both cases, Conti tires outperform Michelin tires in the wet.

All of the above explains the great popularity of Continental tires as they combine a solid manufacturer's warranty, excellent durability, and outstanding wet performance at a lower price than Michelin. All in all, Conti tires are a great alternative to Michelin, especially in the passenger car segment.

Michelin vs Continental: Similarities

In the previous sections, we discussed the main differences between Continental and Michelin tires and some of their similarities. Below we will delve more deeply into the aspects that make both Michelin and Continental a good choice.

Warranty

If there is a value that Michelin and Continental share, it is their commitment to customers. Both brands have one of the best manufacturer warranties on the market. This aspect alone justifies in many cases its price, which is usually higher than the rest of the tires that do not have a support of the level offered by Michelin or Continental.

Quality

Both Michelin and Continental are premium brands, so it should come as no surprise that the quality of their tires exceeds the expectations of the most demanding customers. In fact, both are continually looking to improve their manufacturing processes and materials and, therefore, their products.

Durability

A direct consequence of striving to create quality products is that their durability is often above average. This is the case with Michelin and Continental since their tires tend to last on average 20% longer than other brands.

Safety

Both Michelin and Continental share a passion for offering tires that offer the best possible grip regardless of road conditions. This passion, combined with their extreme quality, has led to their tires being considered among the safest in the world, both in terms of performance and structural integrity.

Technology

It is impossible to prevail as an industry leader without state-of-the-art technology. This maxim applies to Michelin and Continental, manufacturers that have contributed significantly to innovation in the automotive industry through the use of technology for more than one hundred years.

Michelin Products vs. Continental Products

Today the tire market is segmented into a large number of categories. However, three are considered the most important, UHP Summer tires, Grand Touring All-Season tires, and Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tires. These categories cover most of the automotive market and show the most advanced technologies of each brand in terms of performance, safety, comfort, and durability.

Ultra-High Performance Summer Tires: Michelin vs Continental

You may be wondering what makes UHP Summer tires so special? The answer is simple. These are usually tires that combine the best of each brand, both in terms of tread pattern design and state-of-the-art compounds. For this reason, these tires are always a source of fascination among car enthusiasts, whether they drive a super sports car or not.

Michelin: Pilot Sport 4S

The Pilot Sport 4S is one of the most advanced tires ever developed by Michelin.

It uses 24 Hours of Le Mans-derived compounds, an asymmetric tread pattern that favors maximum traction in dry and wet for unparalleled acceleration and stopping power, and Michelin Acoustic Technology to ensure unprecedented ride quality.

Moreover, this is the only tire of its kind that uses a hybrid tread rubber on its outer shoulder to improve dry grip while using a silica-infused wet compound in the center and inbound shoulder to guarantee maximum traction and resistance to hydroplaning in wet.

There's no doubt that this is the best tire money can buy for high-end sports cars and luxury sports sedans.

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Photo credit: michelinmedia.com

Continental: ExtremeContact Sport

To develop the ExtremeContact Sport Continental used a more conventional approach than Michelin’s on the Pilot Sport 4S. However, it has proven to be just as effective.

The ExtremeContact Sport uses a specialized summer-only compound molded into the tread asymmetric design, which coupled with Continental's SportPlus Technology gives this tire exceptional handling, regardless of weather conditions. If you add to this the generous contact area between the rubber and the road, you get a tire that allows you to get the most out of the power of your car.

One unique feature that we love about this tire is the Quickview Performance Indicators, which allow you to get an idea of how deep the tread is. All in all, if you are looking for an alternative to the Pilot Sport 4S for your luxury sports sedan, the ExtremeContact Sport will not disappoint.

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Photo credit: continentaltire.com

Grand Touring All-Season: Michelin vs Continental

While UHP tires are exciting, they are not the segment that comprises the largest percentage of the market. That would be all-season tires, of which the Grand Touring All-Season category stands out. Given the enormous competition in this segment, both Michelin and Continental use their best cards to ensure driver preference, the CrossClimate2, and PureContact LS respectively.

Michelin: CrossClimate2

The CrossClimate2 leads the Grand Touring All-Season segment for a good reason. For one thing, it uses Michelin's Thermal Adaptive all-season tread compound that gives it an amazing grip throughout the year.

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Photo credit: michelinman.com

Add to that its V-Formation directional tread design engineered to deliver maximum performance in dry, wet, and light snow and you have incredible stopping power and handling under any road condition.

On top of all this, the CrossClimate2 features the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol, which guarantees excellent performance in winters with little snowfall.

Michelin has strived to make the CrossClimate2 the best all-season tire for sedans, coupes, station wagons, crossovers, and SUVs looking for daily driving comfort and convenience. Considering the staggering amount of positive reviews for this tire, it's safe to say that it has succeeded.

Continental: PureContact LS

While the PureContact LS is ranked 10 out of 56 in the Grand Touring All-Season segment, this does not mean it is not a worthy match for the CrossClimate2.

On the contrary, it is a tire that integrates cutting-edge technologies, as evidenced by its temperature-activated functional polymer tread compound or its innovative asymmetric pattern designed to improve handling at high speed both in curves and straights.

Moreover, thanks to its Comfort Ride Technology, this is one of the quietest tires in its class while Continental's +Silane additives provide outstanding traction in slippery conditions, which makes the PureContact LS one of the safest tires in the wet.

If you drive a family sedan, minivan, or crossover, you will hardly find a tire that suits your needs better than the PureContact LS.

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Photo credit: continentaltire.com

Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season: Michelin vs Continental

Tires belonging to the Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season segment satisfy the demand of a growing number of vehicles that require a combination of durability, comfort, and sporty style. In that sense, Michelin again takes the lead with its CrossClimate SUV, but this time, closely followed by Continental’s CrossContact LX25.

Michelin: CrossClimate SUV

For the CrossClimate SUV, Michelin used an all-season compound molded into a highly directional tread pattern that together with the 3D self-locking sipes and Emerging grooves gives this tire unparalleled grip in dry, wet, and light snow. Its excellent structural rigidity and advanced design also give it an upscale ride quality even at high speeds.

Yet despite leading the segment, it only does so by a narrow margin over the Continental CrossContact LX25. Since both tires are still relatively new to the market, this could easily be seen as a tie between the two products.

If you drive a mid-size crossover or SUV and need year-round comfort and good performance, then this is one of the best tires available.

Continental: CrossContact LX25

Continental has created the CrossContact LX25 to provide drivers with a "luxurious ride combined with confident, all-season capability.” An ambitious goal, that Continental has achieved thanks to the use of its Next Generation EcoPlus+ Technology compound together with an advanced symmetric tread pattern that guarantees a smooth, quiet ride without compromising performance.

This same compound, exclusive to Continental, enables the CrossContact LX25 to have improved durability, even better than Michelin’s CrossClimate SUV.

All in all, if you're driving a midsize SUV or crossover and your priority is comfort and durability, the CrossContact LX25 is an option to consider.

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Photo credit: tiresvote.com

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Michelin and Continental are premium brands, so you can't go wrong choosing either one. That said, in this review, it has become clear that Michelin is targeting its products at drivers who are looking for the best of the best, regardless of price. For its part, Continental has positioned its tires as a better alternative for drivers looking for durability, unsurpassed traction in the wet, and upscale ride quality, at a premium price but lower than that of Michelin.

People Also Ask

Do you still have questions about which tires are better? Do you want to know more about Michelin and Continental? In that case, this section is for you, as we will answer the most frequently asked questions regarding these two major manufacturers.

Is Continental Tire Owned By Michelin?

No, Continental is not owned by Michelin. Tires that are part of the Michelin group include Kleber, Kormoran, Riken, BFGoodrich, Taurus, and Uniroyal.

Do Continental Tires Last?

Depending on the tire model and your driving style, you can expect between 40,000 and 100,000+ miles of useful life from Continental tires. This value can also be affected by the climatic conditions of the area where you live and the timely maintenance of the tires (rotation and correct air pressure).

Are Continental Tires Made in China?

Almost all of the Conti tires sold in the United States are manufactured in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, or Texas. However, Continental has tire plants around the world, including theHefei plant in China that serves the Asian market.

Is Continental Better Than Goodyear?

Both Continental and Goodyear are world-class tire manufacturers, with dozens of product lines, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, so a comparison is not so simple.

That said, from a global earnings standpoint, Continental is ranked 3 while Goodyear is ranked 5. However, in terms of high-performance passenger car tires, the overall sentiment is that Goodyear offers better products at a lower price than Continental.

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Photo credit: continental.com

When Should Continental Tires Be Replaced?

Continental recommends periodically checking the tires and replacing them when the tread deep is equal to or less than 2/32 "of an inch (1.6 mm). Some Conti tires have the DWS technology, a visual indicator that helps you in this regard. When the “S” wears out, the tire is not suitable for use in winter. Similarly, when the “W” wears out, wear makes it unsuitable for wet driving, while when the “D” wears out, the useful life has been reached and should be replaced.

What is the Warranty on Continental Tires?

All Continental tires have a Uniformity Warranty of 1-year of use or the first 2/32 "of wear, Workmanship / Materials Warranty of 6-year, and free tire replacement for the first year 2/32" wear, or 25 % wear. Additionally, most have a 1-year Road Hazard Warranty of use or the first 2/32 "of wear and a Treadlife Warranty of 6-year and or a variable mileage depending on the tire.

Where Are Continental Tires Made?

Although Continental is a German-based company, it manufactures most of its tires for the US market at its plants in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. Like other manufacturers, some specialty tires may initially be available from one of their other factories around the world before being produced locally.

Why Are Michelin Tires So Expensive?

In short, because they are considered the best tires in the world. Search Google for "best tire brands," and you will get dozens of in-depth reviews where they will mention the impressive amount of resources that Michelin invests in R&D, the exclusive materials they use in the compounds, or the state-of-the-art manufacturing processes. All in all, when you buy Michelin, you are buying safety, comfort, and maximum performance.

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Photo credit: industryweek.com

Are Michelin Tires Worth the Money?

Absolutely. Michelin tires are worth every penny. Although its initial cost is higher, their long-lasting tread and fabulous warranty save you money in the long run. Moreover, the state-of-the-art technology used by Michelin allows you to save on fuel, improve driving safety, and get the best possible performance from your car.

Are Continental Tires Quiet?

Yes, in general, Continental tires are silent. Furthermore, selected tires have the exclusive ContiSilent technology that reduces road noise by up to 9 dB. To find out which Continental tires have this innovative technology, enter Continental Tirefinder, where the noise level of each tire will be displayed.

How Old Are My Continental Tires?

You can tell how old your Continental tires are by reading the DOT Serial Number located on the inside sidewall, near the rim. As of the year 2000, the DOT consists of 4 digits; the first two indicate the week and the last two the year of manufacture of the tire.

How Do I Claim My Continental Tire Warranty?

Continental handles different warranty claim procedures depending on whether the tires are installed on a new vehicle (OEM), or are replacement tires, tires for a fleet vehicle, or tires installed on a used vehicle. To facilitate the claim process, Continental has provided a guided claim form which can be accessed here.

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Damaso

Damaso has been in the automotive world since he was 14 years old and his father decided to bought an auto repair shop. Years later, his passion for electronics, computers, and automotive mechanics motivated him to graduate in Mechanical Engineering and venture into the sales of automotive equipment.For years Damaso worked as a technical advisor assisting car dealerships, tire shops, and even the plants of Toyota and Mitsubishi that operate in his country. He has over 25 years of experience reporting on topics ranging from DIY jobs, technological analysis, automotive news, and more. He is a wealth of information and a valued member of our team.

FAQs

Are Michelin tyres better than Continental? ›

From our testing, if you ignore wear, the Continental is objectively the better overall tyre, it is stronger under traction and braking, offers similar cornering grip and is more comfortable than the Michelin. The margin is incredibly slim, but real.

What tire is comparable to a Michelin? ›

What are the top 10 tire brands? The best tire brands are Michelin, Goodyear, Cooper, Bridgestone, Pirelli, BFGoodrich, Continental, Yokohama, General, and Hankook.

How much more in KM does a Michelin tire last versus a tire from the competition? ›

Results may vary depending on driving practices, vehicle and tire pressure. (4) When new, the MICHELIN e·PRIMACY tire generates an average 2 kg/t less rolling resistance than competing tires, which feeds through to an up to 0.21-liter reduction in fuel burned per 100 km.

What is Michelin's mission statement? ›

“For over a century, Michelin has been committed to “offering our customers the best tire at the best price in each segment of the market” and “setting the standard in quality of service”.

Which brand of tyres last the longest? ›

  • Goodyear Efficientgrip 2 SUV Tyres.
  • Goodyear Efficientgrip Cargo 2 Tyres.
  • Goodyear Efficientgrip Performance 2 Tyres.
  • Goodyear Ultra Grip 9 + Tyres.
  • Goodyear Ultra Grip Performance + Tyres.
  • Goodyear Vector 4seasons G3 Tyres.
  • Goodyear Vector 4seasons SUV G3 Tyres.
  • Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 Tyres.

Which is the best brand of tyres? ›

Top 10 Best Tyre Brands in India
  • MRF Tyres. MRF is one of India's oldest tyre manufacturing enterprises, founded a year before Indian independence in 1946. ...
  • Apollo Tyres. It is one of India's most renowned and well-known tyre companies. ...
  • JK Tyres. ...
  • CEAT Tyres. ...
  • Michelin Tyres. ...
  • Bridgestone. ...
  • Continental. ...
  • Goodyear.
5 Jan 2022

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