- The German tyre manufacturer factory-fits one in three new cars in Europe
- Nine out of 10 best-selling European cars are approved for Continental tyres
- Continental is the only tyre manufacturer that supplies original equipment tyres to all seven vehicle manufacturers in South Africa
Continental is one of the largest suppliers of tyres to vehicle manufacturers. About a third of new cars in Europe are fitted with tyres from the Hanover-based German company. What’s more, when it comes to the best-selling European cars such as the VW Golf, Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta, manufacturers have approved nine out of ten models for fitting with Continental tyres.
The company’s products are also popular with the producers of sports cars and super sports cars such as Porsche, Maserati and AMG. Rolls Royce and Maybach drive on Continental, while electric car manufacturers Audi, Tesla and Renault also rely on the company’s products for the contact patch between car and road. Continental’s customer list is not limited to European manufacturers, with Asian manufacturers such as Hyundai also highly pleased with the development expertise emanating from Germany.
Continental has just received further approvals for original equipment (OE) tyres from leading European vehicle manufacturers, with Audi’s e-tron and the Q8/SQ8 running on its tyres. BMW has followed suit, fitting Continental tyres to its X7, X3M, X3 and Z4 models. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan rolls out of the factory on tyres developed by the development department in Hanover-Stöcken, and now Porsche is also relying on the expertise of the Continental engineers for its winter tyres.
In South Africa, Continental is the only tyre company that supplies OE tyres to all seven local vehicle manufacturers, comprising BMW, Ford, Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen – many of which ship to export markets around the world. Approximately 99 percent of these tyres are locally manufactured at the Continental Tyre SA plant in Port Elizabeth, with the balance being imported.
The reason for the wealth of approvals for summer, winter and all-season tyres is the high level of expertise and experience that Continental engineers have gained in the development of OE tyres. As a result, the products are separately adjusted to each vehicle manufacturer’s requirements to accurately achieve the additional characteristics desired, such as perfect handling for Porsche or BMW M, maximum comfort even at high speed for Rolls-Royce, and very low rolling resistance for electric cars.
A single development round is often not enough. In collaboration with the car manufacturers, prototypes are developed and tested until the customized tyre is a perfect match. Such tyres also have special identifiers to ensure that they are fitted to the right car. The “MO” identifier, for example, stands for Mercedes tyres, while products for BMW are marked with an asterisk (*).
The reason for this highly successful business with vehicle manufacturers is both the many years of experience gained by Continental engineers and the involvement of colleagues from other divisions of the company. Collaboration with the brake and chassis specialists from the Chassis and Safety Division ensures synergies that no other tyre manufacturer can offer.
At the same time, the development of OE products helps the engineers to identify new trends in the industry in advance and adapt to them. This creates a classic win-win situation that also generates satisfied customers for the tyre trade, as experience shows that when ordering replacement tyres, car owners buy the same model their car was delivered with.