Who owns what in the tire industry
If you own your vehicle long enough you will be replacing tires, perhaps two or even four at a time. Tire engineering has changed over the years with longer tread life, low roll resistance and even run flat technology available. What has also changed are the tires available as a number of familiar names and new manufacturers are vying to ply their wares to the consumer.
In recent years, consolidation has taken place in the rubber industry with global brands buying up American manufacturers and Asian tire makers flexing their muscles.
Let’s take a look at some of the industry’s names and their relationship to other brands:
Bridgestone — The Japanese tire giant has owned Firestone for many years and also produces Dayton and Fuzion tires. Bridgestone and Firestone are common original equipment tires used by many car manufacturers.
Continental — Based in Germany, Continental and General are the two tire brands sold by this tire manufacturer. Continental tires are often found on Porsche, Mercedes and Audi models. General tires are for light duty truck use.
Cooper — Based in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper Tires is a big supplier of aftermarket tires under the Cooper, Avon, Starfire and Mastercraft labels. Cooper tires are popular replacement tires on light duty trucks and sport utility vehicles. The other brands are private label and usually found through private dealers.
Goodyear — The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is the largest of the American based tire manufacturers and third in global sales behind Michelin and Bridgestone. Popular OE tires for numerous manufacturers, Goodyear also produces commercial truck, recreational vehicle, off-road, aviation and racing tires and owns Kelley-Springfield tires and has rights to the Dunlop brand name in North America.
Hankook — Based in South Korea, Hankook has been selling tires in the United States for the past two decades, first as an aftermarket supplier but eventually landing original equipment tire status with a number of models produced by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
Kumho — Another Korean make, Kumho is making a name for itself in the aftermarket sector, building passenger car, light duty truck, minivan and commercial truck tires. Considered a value brand amongst tire analysts.
Michelin Group — Besides producing Michelin brand tires, the French company now owns Uniroyal and BF Goodrich. Michelin holds the patent for radial tires and is a leader in low resistance tire technology.
Pirelli — The Milan, Italy based Pirelli is a leader in superbike tires and sole supplier for FIA’s World Rally Championship Racing event. Their tires are also OE for MINI Cooper, Saab, Ford, Fiat and numerous other makes.
Toyo — Formed after World War II came to an end, Toyo Tires was the first Japanese tire company to establish a presence in the United States, opening an American branch in 1965. Though not as well known as Bridgestone, Toyo Tires consistently rates at or near the top in tire dealer surveys conducted by Tire Review magazine year after year.
Yokohama — Japan-based Yokohama tires have earned the reputation as being a performance tire, developing tires for performance cars and competition. Yokohama also build SUV, minivan and winter tires.
Millions of Chinese tires are sold in the United States each year too including GITI. If you come across an unfamiliar tire brand, check closely on its country of origin.