The tyre gets a second life in France – CHALLENGES Magazine April 16, 2023


Founded in 1979 near Lyon, Black Star is the last company in France to retread tyres for light vehicles, a technique that major manufacturers no longer use except for trucks. Until now confined to atypical dimensions, Black Star is changing scale by unveiling at the low-carbon mobility fair Drive to Zero (from April 5 to 7) its Leonard tyres, compatible with 70% of sedans and SUVs in circulation.

“We wanted an unusual name for a tyre that is no less ordinary,” defends Laurent Cabassu, managing director of Black Star.

After ruthless testing, the retained casings (85% rejection rate) receive a new tread and sidewalls. A process that emits 63% less CO and consumes 80% less material than manufacturing a new tyre. The feat is made possible by the takeover in 2021 of the Bridgestone site, in Béthune (Pas-de-Calais), financed by subsidy and the entry into the capital of Mobivia (Norauto, Midas, etc.).

The objective within four years is to refurbish 1 million tyres per year, in a French market of 40 million new tyres. Sold 20% more expensive than an Asian tyre but 30% less expensive than a premium whose carcass it uses, Leonard promises services equivalent to those of a mid-range.

"Choosing our locally reconditioned tytes means contributing to the circular economy as much as safeguarding jobs that cannot be relocated", boasts Laurent Cabassu.