Michelin spokeswoman Lynn Mann said this year's event, scheduled for the weekend of June 9 in Paris, will go on as scheduled. "I think each one of us is committed to picking up the banner," Mann said.
The Challenge Bibendum - held in different venues around the world since it began in 1998 - was one of Edouard Michelin's favorite events. The great-grandson of the company founder has invested large sums from Michelin's corporate coffers on the event, held in such venues as China, Japan, Germany, France and California. He often test-drove many of the vehicles and usually gave the opening and closing speeches.
As in past years, the Challenge Bibendum showcases the most advanced fuel-cell, electric, gasoline, diesel and hybrid vehicles from most of the world's major automakers. Manufacturers submit their green vehicles for performance testing that measures emissions, acceleration, fuel economy, noise and handling.
General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Audi AG and Ford's Volvo division are among the major automakers attending the Bibendum, the name of the round rubber Michelin Man corporate logo.
Edouard Michelin's successor, Michel Rollier, is expected to attend the Bibendum, but it is not clear whether he will stand in for Michelin.
Mann said that although she had no details about the 2007 Challenge Bibendum, the event likely will continue.
"One of Michelin's core values is respect for the environment," Mann said. "Challenge Bibendum is a commitment to encouraging sustainable mobility. I know that all of Michelin is committed to environmental stewardship."
You may e-mail Richard Truett at [email protected]