Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. (YRC) opened for business with one facility and began producing rubber-based products such as belts, hoses and tires in 1917.
One hundred years later, Yokohama has evolved into a major $6 billion global brand, manufacturing technologically advanced, environmentally sensitive world-class products for a variety of industries such as automotive, marine, aerospace and even golf. Today, Yokohama has facilities in 120 countries and employs more than 20,000 people worldwide.
“This is a remarkable achievement for Yokohama,” says Hideto Katsuragawa, YRC member of the board and senior managing officer, CEO of Yokohama Corp. of North America (YCNA) and CEO of Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) in the United States. “Yokohama has succeeded for 100 years through pioneering technology and innovation.”
Yokohama entered the U.S. market in 1969 with the establishment of YTC, which was first based in Montebello, Calif. Yokohama says the YTC’s steady growth in the U.S. led to the opening of several facilities, including tire manufacturing plants in Salem, Va., and West Point, Miss., as well as a recently opened Technical Development Center near Charlotte, N.C.; several distribution centers, including a new major facility in Chino, Calif.; and Yokohama’s new U.S. headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif.
Outside of the U.S., Yokohama’s North American presence includes facilities in Canada and Mexico.
“We’re proud to celebrate 100 years of continuous growth in tire innovation but we are not resting,” says Katsuragawa. “We are on the move, and look forward to our next 100 years of being the best manufacturer and supplier in the rubber and tire industry.”
The company has compiled a detailed history at its website. Some major milestones are below.
- 1917: Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. established.
- 1919: Hiranuma plant opened in Hiranu, Yokohama and produced the first corded tire, the Hama Town Cord.
- 1955: The Hama Safety and Hama Liner – Japan’s first tubeless tires – are launched.
- 1958: Launched Hamatite sealant made from a rubber and resin compound.
- 1961: YRC began selling tires worldwide as construction was completed on the Yokohama Rubber building in Tokyo that remains today as its global headquarters.
- 1965: Yokohama Rubber’s steel cord conveyor belts adopted by Joban Coal Mining Co., Ltd.
- 1969: YRC entered the U.S. market with the establishment of the Yokohama Tire Corporation in Montebello, Calif.
- 1973: Developed rubber anchor buoy Globuoy.
- 1974: YRC began manufacturing off-the-road (OTR) tires at its Onomichi Plant in Japan.
- 1982: Developed lavatory module for Boeing 757 and water tank for Boeing 757 and 737.
- 1983: YRC Launched PRGR (ProGear) golf equipment.
- 1984: Yokohama Tire Canada established.
- 1989: YRC completed D-PARC and T*MARY, state-of-the-art proving grounds capable of simulating all types of roads.
- 1989: YRC purchased Mohawk Rubber in Salem, Va., and invested $80 million to expand it. The plant is now called Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia.
- 1989: Established YH America Inc. in the U.S. to assemble automotive hydraulic pressure hoses.
- 1990s: Yokohama expanded its consumer product line when it launched the Advan Neova, Geolandar and Avid product families.
- 2005: Yokohama won the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 Class on Advan racing tires, leading the race for 22 hours.
- 2007: Started the Yokohama Forever Forest tree-planting project. First tree-planting ceremony was held at the Hiratsuka Factor. To date, more than 360,500 trees have been planted globally.
- 2007: Yokohama received its first original equipment fitment in the U.S. by being named OE on Chrysler’s Town & Country minivan.
- 2007: Launched the dB Super E-spec, the first tire to use orange oil technology.
- 2008: Yokohama became a major player in U.S. sports sponsorships, partnering with 14 teams over an eight-year period.
- 2013: Yokohama Tire Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. established.
- 2015: Yokohama opened its new manufacturing plant – Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi in West Point, Miss.
- 2015: After 28 years in Fullerton, Yokohama moved its U.S. headquarters to nearby Santa Ana, Calif. Yokohama also opened its new 658,000-square-foot Western Region Distribution Center in Chino, Calif.
- 2015: To increase the prominence of its brand globally, Yokohama became the Official Shirt Sponsor of English Premier League Chelsea Football Club.
- 2016: YRC entered the agriculture and forestry tire market for the first time with the acquisition of Alliance Tire Group.
- 2016: Yokohama established a tire research and development center in North Carolina.
For more information on Yokohama’s product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.
To connect with Yokohama on social media, follow these links: