The world's financial situation has claimed one more victim on the road to sustainable mobility. At least for a year, that is: the 2009 Michelin's Challenge Bibendum, originally scheduled to take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next April, has been has been delayed until 2010. Started in 1998 to help celebrate the French tiremaker's 100th anniversary, the biennial Challenge Bibendum has become widely recognized as the world's premier event in support of sustainable road mobility. It has travelled around the globe on this mission, last time journeying to Shanghai, China, in 2007. The Challenge Bibendum combines technical tests and evaluations, demonstrations and test drives to gauge the progress in a wide range of areas including fuel consumption, pollutant emissions, acceleration, braking, road handling, safety and design while providing a unique arena in which industry, policymakers, academics and the media can review the latest technologies, debate policies and share their own visions on the subject.
In a short statement, Michelin noted that: "This decision takes into account the increasing financial constraints of several of Challenge Bibendum's traditional partners. Many will be unable to participate, to the extent that they have done in the past, in an event which illustrates the existence of solutions to the challenges of tomorrow's road mobility. Today's circumstances amply demonstrate the pertinence of such a theme and the need to address it with great drive and energy. We will make the most of 2009 and all the findings that it will bring, to prepare a Challenge Bibendum of an even higher standard. To this end existing contacts and partnerships will be further strengthened. In the interval the Challenge Bibendum organizing team will propose a series of different initiatives to our partners to stimulate ongoing debates on the future of road mobility."