Continental Celebrates 150th Anniversary

April 22, 2021

Continental AG, parent company of Continental Tire the Americas LLC, is celebrating its 150th year in business.

The company - which employs more than 15,000 people in the United States - was founded in Hannover, Germany, in 1871.

"Over the next 15 decades, Continental transformed from a local manufacturer of tires and soft rubber products to an international technology company," say Continental officials, who add that "worldwide, three out of every four vehicles on the road are equipped with the company’s tires or automotive technologies. 

"Throughout this year, Continental will celebrate the company’s esteemed history with stories on how it became a driving force of technological progress.

"Before cars were even invented, the company began by manufacturing horse 'hoof buffers' along with solid tires for carriages and bicycles."

In 1904, Continental says it developed automobile tires with a patterned tread "and four years later invented the detachable rim. On the year of its 50th anniversary, in 1921, Continental produced its first commercial truck tires." 

Six years later, it launched a pneumatic tractor tire in Europe.

"The following decades saw continued innovation. In 1955, Continental was the first company to develop air springs for trucks and buses and the first German company to start manufacturing tubeless car tires, which it had patented after World War II.

"By the 1960's, widespread production of radial tires had begun and Continental employed 26,800 people."

The company says that it "revolutionized the solid tire segment, which are used on forklift trucks, airport vehicles, and other heavy-duty industrial applications, with its ContiSuperElastic tires.

"In 1967, the company opened the Contidrom test track, which is still used as a global standard today in tandem with the Uvalde Proving Grounds in Texas, where tires have been tested since 1959.

"By 1988, the company had almost doubled in size, employing 45,900 people around the world. It had acquired Uniroyal and Semperit in Europe," plus General Tire & Rubber Co. in the United States.

"Within the next 10 years, the company reinforced its position as a global tire manufacturer by adding sites in Central and South America, Africa and Eastern Europe. After a 10-year hiatus, Continental re-entered the OTR construction and mining tires segment in 2015, and shortly thereafter restarted production of radial agricultural tires."

Looking ahead, Continental says its Vision 2030 "integrates sustainable and responsible business as a key ambition."

By 2050, the company aims to reach 100% carbon neutrality "along its entire value chain, including products, operations and supply," as well as 100% "emission-free mobility and industries,100% circular economy with closed resource and product cycles and 100% responsible sourcing and business partnerships."