If an anthropologist had to list out the early inventions that helped the Neanderthal to evolve into the Homo sapiens, the wheel would be on that list after fire and stone tools. No one really knows when and how humans invented it. Some say that while cutting a log into smaller pieces, a circular portion rolled off the hill lighting the spark of quick locomotion in the cranium of the early man.
Tires convert the linear and reciprocating motions inside the piston engine into forwarding motion. In layman terms, tires make civilisation move. Without them, an automobile is a very expensive piece of scrap metal. Humans went from all spoke to rubber tube to alloy rimmed to no tube tires and there are still innovative inventions still being made in this field. There are a lot of parameters that go into making a tire that one can think of and the following companies have are the ones who have got the recipe just right. Following are the top 10 largest tyre manufacturing companies in the world in 2018.
Table of Page Contents
- 10. Cooper Tires (1.39 Billion Dollars)
- 9. Toyo Tire (1.66 Billion Dollars)
- 8. Yokohama (1.85 Billion dollars)
- 7. Sumitomo Rubber (2.85 Billion dollars)
- 6. Hankook (2.93 Billion dollars)
- 5. Pirelli (3.34 Billion dollars)
- 4. Continental (5.85 Billion Dollars)
- 3. Goodyear (7.57 Billion Dollar)
- 2. Michelin (11.56 Billion dollars)
- 1. Bridgestone (12.01 Billion Dollars)
10. Cooper Tires (1.39 Billion Dollars)
John F. Schaefer and wife Claude E. Hart, who owned Giant Tire and Rubber Company, merged with Cooper Corporation owned by IJ Cooper in 1930 and Cooper tires was born. One of the two largest tire manufacturing industries in the United States of America, this company has its headquarters in Findlay, Ohio. They oversee design, manufacture, and sale of automobile and truck tires. They were Awarded Army-Navy ‘E’ Award for constructing inflatable rafts, pontoons and life jackets for the military during World War 2. Their recent Discoverer Winter tire for large vehicles (Suburban Vehicles) with patented snow-gauge technology is a good fit for of terrain and winter time driving.
9. Toyo Tire (1.66 Billion Dollars)
Akira Nobuki is the current chairman of Toyo tires with its headquarters in Osaka, Japan. Established in 1945, they made their first export o United States in 1963. They came up with the Dynamic Simulation Optimised Contour Theory which helps them design tires for buses and trucks. Their new Extensa HP II is the new affordable, all season, passenger car tire. Their
The t-mode technology uses vehicle-mounted tires and runs them through a simulation to create the perfect tire based on some governing factors type of tread and rubber material. They exhibited a new concept non-pneumatic tire called ‘noair’. They are made using resin and carbon fiber and are still in the process of being perfect for all terrain.
8. Yokohama (1.85 Billion dollars)
On 13th October 2017, this Japan-based company turned a 100. Instead of partying the night away, like most of the 100 hundred-year-olds these days, they launched a new tire called BluEarth-air EF21. This tire is build using lesser materials without compromising the integrity and the strength. Their Geolander range of tires for 4×4 vehicles are all the rage for off-terrain enthusiasts. They have been tired suppliers for Macau Grand Prix Formula3 Intercontinental Cup since 1983. They also sponsor Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. The advanced Artificial Intelligence technology used by them saves time by running multiple parameters to get the perfect tire for the desired purpose.
7. Sumitomo Rubber (2.85 Billion dollars)
The current chairman Tetsuji Mino sits in Hyogo, Japan where the headquarters of Sumitomo Rubber is situated. Established in 1909, this company now owns subsidiaries like Dunlop tires, Falken tires, and Ohtsu tires. Under SRI sports, who own Dunlop, they also produce sports goods like golf and tennis balls. When Toyota was planning for airless tires for lighter electric cars, they hired Sumitomo for the job. They are currently in the designing process and have estimated that commercial sale of the same will be available by 2025.
6. Hankook (2.93 Billion dollars)
Hankook is a Seoul (South Korea) based tire company and has known to sponsor the football club Real Madrid. They are also the official sponsors of UEFA Europa League. They have signed up with Farnbarche Racing team, supplying tires for a Ferrari F230 GT in the 2009 Le Mans Series. In 2008, they were suppliers for Primetime race group in the GT2 class of American Le Mans Series. The recent opening of manufacturing plant in Clarksville, Tennessee will bring about 1800 jobs to the region.
5. Pirelli (3.34 Billion dollars)
Pirelli is an Italian company with its headquarters in Milan, Italy. It is a subsidiary of Marco Polo International. Famous for its Pirelli Calendar which depicts famous stars and photographers, Pirelli has also been involved I the fashion industry and renewable energies sector. Their motto, ‘Power is nothing without control’, was best depicted by the invention of now-famous wide radial tires. With Porsche fitting their Porsche 911 turbo line with Pirelli tires and Hyundai making the decision to use their tires for as original equipment in their Hyundai i30n range, these tires are in great demand. They sponsor Spanish and Hungarian Grand Prix and was the controlled tire supplier for British Formula 3 Championship from 2008-2010.
4. Continental (5.85 Billion Dollars)
Germans know their automobiles. Volkswagen, BMW, and Audi find their homes here. It’s safe to say that one of the best tire companies is here too. Continental stared back in 1871 and finds its headquarters in Hanover, Germany. They handle their business by subdividing the work into five different departments which are Chassis and Safety, Tires, Powertrain, Interior and ContiTech. They were primarily a rubber company who joined the tire business after buying General Tire in 1987.
Their tires are supposed to provide great traction and good wet braking. The Automotive News PACE Award went to Continental shared with Honda for their innovation in Bi-directional Long Range Communication which is a remote control which can be used for remote engine start, climate control and locking/unlocking mechanism from more than half a kilometer away. They recently exhibited two new ranges of tires, Conti Sense and Conti Adapt at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
3. Goodyear (7.57 Billion Dollar)
If you saw a tire having the logo of a winged shoe, you just saw a Goodyear tire. The logo which symbolises the Greek messenger god Hermes, Goodyear is the largest tire manufacturer in the United States of America. It is named after and in honor of Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanised rubber. They started in 1898 and became famous in 1900 for their airships and blimps, which an iconic part of the sports culture in the United States. They have been successful suppliers of Formula 1 history. Also, they are the sole tire suppliers for NASCAR. They were the first turns on the Moon when Apollo 14 landed and have recently created an eco tire made of a soybean oil-based rubber compound.
2. Michelin (11.56 Billion dollars)
A French company which started in 1889 has been constructing tires for airplanes and space shuttles. They are mainly notable for their Red and Green travel guides, roadmaps and Michelin stars which are awarded to the best restaurants in the Red guide. This company has been credited for inventions of the removable tire, tires designed for trains to run over rails (plural) and radial tires.
From 1972 – 2008, Michelin has had 360 wins in the span of 36 years in the Moto Grand Prix and will be supplying tires to them till 2023. Also, they won Formula1 Drivers Championship with Braham and McLaren. In World Rallying, they have supplied to Audi, Citroen, Ford, and Lancia. Their new Active-Wheel technology which installs in-wheel electric motors and motorised suspension have made new leaps in safety and performance.
1. Bridgestone (12.01 Billion Dollars)
Shojiro Ishibashi, whose last name is translated as ‘stone bridge’, founded this company in 1931. They have developed tires for Formula 2, Formula3, Formula Ford and Formula Opel Lotus. They took five Formula1 Drivers Championships in 1998 and from 2001-2004. They also supplied to the Le Mans Rally for teams owned by Nissan and Toyota in the 1980s and 1990s. They were exclusive suppliers to MotoGP form 2009-2015 and had 100th win in 2012.
Companies have clearly come a long way since we first used tires made of wood and metal plates. This sector has seen growth like none other and will see some more because until unless the flying car technology is found in the next few years, everyone is going to need tires.