Continental, one of the largest technology companies in the world, is celebrating its 150th year in business in 2021. Founded in Hanover, Germany in 1871, Continental now employs more than 235,000 people in 58 countries and markets. In 1987, Continental acquired tire manufacturer General Tire to establish Continental Tire North America, Inc. Moving into North America was a key milestone as Continental transformed from a local manufacturer of tires and soft rubber products to an international technology company over the last 15 decades.
Today, Continental has nearly 15,000 employees in the United States. Worldwide, three out of every four vehicles on the road are equipped with the company’s tires or automotive technologies. An estimated one billion people place their trust in Continental every day.
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 became the first company in the world to develop automobile tires with a patterned tread, and four years later it invented the detachable rim.
Additional key milestones in its history include:
- 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 1960s, widespread production of radial tires had begun, and Continental employed 26,800 people.
- In 1967, the company opened the Contidrom test track. Tires have been tested there since 1959 and it is still used as a global standard today in tandem with the Uvalde Proving Grounds in Texas.
- By 1988, the company had almost doubled in size, employing 45,900 people around the world.
In 2019, Continental was one of the two most recognized brands in U.S. Consumer Reports’ top tire picks, tying for first place in the all-season light truck category and taking second place in three others. Continental has been awarded as a premium tire manufacturer throughout its history, but tires were just the start. The company has transformed to drive innovation across industries.
In 2007, Continental became one of the top five largest automotive suppliers worldwide. More than a components supplier, Continental is shaping the future of mobility with innovations paving the wave for solutions such as autonomous driving technologies.
Through its ContiTech business area, Continental is leading innovations in advanced dynamics solutions, mobile and industrial fluid solutions, along with power transmission, surface and conveying solutions, benefiting industries, for example, from agriculture, commercial vehicle and construction to industrial plant engineering.
This year, at one of the largest consumer electronics shows in the world, Continental was recognized with three CES 2021 Innovation Awards, including for its Transparent Trailer technology. This marked Continental’s eighth CES Innovation Award and fifth consecutive year being recognized for its mobility innovations.
And in 2019, its commercial fleet monitoring solution, ContiConnect® Yard Reader, was named a top new product by Constructech, Construction Equipment, and Today’s Trucking magazines.
In addition to the growth in these areas, Continental has been a leader on sustainability initiatives, as well as being recognized as one of the top companies to work for by publications such as Fortune and Forbes.
Additional information on Continental’s dynamic development over the last 150 years can be found here, including:
- The origin of the Continental logo.
- Its history with racing tires.
- Innovations to unlock the future of mobility.
- New industry applications.