- Milestones include the first tire with a profile, with a detachable rim, the first tubeless tire and winter tire, as well as the first pneumatic tractor tire
- In addition to premium tires, Continental now offers smart digital tire solutions and services
- By 2050 at the latest, Continental tires will be made from 100 percent sustainable materials. The supply chain will be completely climate neutral
Continental will celebrate its 150th company anniversary on October 8, 2021. Since it was founded in Hanover in 1871, Continental has been developing pioneering technologies and services for the sustainable and networked mobility of people and their goods. From a small factory in Hanover, the company has developed into one of the global players in the automotive industry, which is now active in 58 countries and markets. Continental is the oldest independent and at the same time one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world. Over the past 150 years, the company has set standards in the tire industry with its pioneering spirit and innovative strength. Time and again, it was the engineers at Continental who, with their pioneering inventions, ensured that tires became safer, more powerful and more sustainable. The milestones in Continental’s tire development include the first tire with a profile, the first tire with a detachable rim, the patent for the world’s first tubeless tire and – with the “Off-Road” model – the first dedicated winter tire. The first pneumatic tractor tire also comes from Continental. The first tire with optimized rolling resistance and the first series tire with a tread made of dandelion rubber were added later. Continental is also one of the pioneers when it comes to digitization. As early as 1999, the tire manufacturer showed that the data required for driver assistance systems can be determined more precisely and faster if the tire is used as a data source. This was the hour of birth of the intelligent tire. Continental now connects its tires and their sensors with the cloud and offers its customers completely new, smart and digital tire solutions and services.
“Tires are our passion. Our technological excellence has ensured safety, reliability and sustainability for 150 years. We are proud of that, ”said Christian Kötz, Head of the Tires Business Unit and member of the Continental Executive Board. He added, “Many of today’s tire technology standards come from Continental Tire Review. We keep pushing the boundaries of what is feasible. Our goal is to manufacture our entire product portfolio exclusively from sustainable materials and in a climate-neutral manner by 2050 at the latest. “
Continental’s roots go back to the early days of the company. On October 8, 1871, the “Continental Caoutchouc & Gutta Percha Compagnie” was launched. The product range initially comprised a large number of rubber products such as toy balls, rubber mats, roller covers, rubberized fabrics or balloons and solid tires for carriages and bicycles. When the bicycle started its worldwide career in 1892 with freewheeling and retraction, Continental was the first German company to manufacture pneumatic bicycle tires, which came into common parlance as “Pneumatics”. A short time later, in 1898, the manufacture of these pneumatic tires for automobiles began. The first pneumatics had no profile and had comparatively limited driving characteristics by today’s standards, especially on wet or wintry roads. All tire manufacturers were looking for solutions to reduce the tendency of their products to slide – until in 1904 Continental presented the world’s first car tire with a profiled tread.
Industrialization and the need for mobility as early drivers of innovation
The triumph of individual mobility and advancing industrialization called for tire products that met the increasing needs and demands of the driver. In addition to safety, the issue of comfort also increasingly came to the fore. In 1908, the Continental engineers caused a sensation worldwide with the invention of the removable rim, which made wheel and tire assembly much easier. On the company’s 50th anniversary, Continental was the first German company to bring giant pneumatic tires for commercial vehicles onto the market. In 1928 tires for tractors and tractor units were manufactured for the first time. The T2 farm tractor tire was the first pneumatic agricultural tire in Europe. In the industrial sector, Continental revolutionized the solid tire segment that is used on forklifts, airport vehicles and other heavy-duty industrial applications. Introduced in 1932, the great success of the ContiSuperElastic solid rubber tire led to the abbreviation for this category, which is customary today in the industry: CSE.