Continental is celebrating its 150th company anniversary. Since its foundation in Hanover, Germany in 1871, Continental has been developing pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected 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 operating in 58 countries and markets. Continental is the oldest independent and also one of the largest tyre manufacturers in the world. Over the past 150 years, the company has set standards in the tyre industry with its pioneering spirit and innovative strength. Time and again, it was Continental’s engineers who, with their ground-breaking inventions, ensured that tyres became safer, more efficient, and sustainable. Milestones in Continental’s tyre development include the first treaded tyre, the first tyre with a detachable rim, the patent for the world’s first tubeless tyre and, with its “all-terrain” model, the first dedicated winter tyre. Likewise, the first pneumatic tractor tyre came from Continental. Later came the first rolling resistance-optimised tyre and the first production tyre to feature a tread made of dandelion rubber. Continental is also one of the pioneers in the field of digitalisation. As early as 1999 the tyre manufacturer demonstrated that the data required for advanced driver assistance systems can be determined even more accurately and quickly if the tire is used as a data source. This was the birth of the intelligent tyre. Meanwhile Continental is connecting its tyres and their sensors to the cloud and offering its customers completely new, smart and digital tyre solutions and services.
“Tyres are our passion. Our technological excellence has ensured safety, reliability, and sustainability for 150 years. We are proud of this,” said Christian Kötz, Head of the Tires business area and member of the executive board of Continental. He added: “Many of today’s technology standards in tyres come from Continental. Time and time again, we push the boundaries of what is possible. Our goal is to produce our entire product portfolio exclusively from sustainable materials in a climate-neutral way by 2050 at the latest.”
Continental’s roots go back to the early days of the founding era. On October 8th, 1871, the “Continental-Caoutchouc- & Gutta-Percha-Compagnie” was incorporated. The product range initially included a variety of rubber products, such as toy balls, rubber mats, roller coverings, rubberised fabrics or balloons and solid tyres for carriages and bicycles. When the bicycle began its worldwide career in 1892 with freewheel and coaster brake, Continental was the first German company to produce pneumatic bicycle tyres and hence “pneumatics” soon became a household word. A short time later, in 1898, the production of pneumatic tyres for cars also began. The first pneumatics were still treadless and had comparatively limited handling characteristics by today’s standards, especially on wet or wintry roads. All tire manufacturers were looking for solutions to the sliding susceptibility of their products – until Continental presented the world’s first car tyre with a tread in 1904.