History of Continental AG
© Continental AG

History

Founded in Hanover, Germany, in 1871, Continental can look back on a history of success. We help people around the world turn their ideas of mobility into reality. Our technologies, systems, and service solutions make mobility and transport more sustainable, safer, more comfortable, more customized, and more affordable. As an automotive supplier and industrial partner, we offer solutions that help keep people safer and healthier, that help protect the environment, and that give individuals more opportunities to shape their own future. Continental employees around the globe are currently developing new answers for future mobility.

1871
1914
  • 1871

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    Continental-Caoutchouc- und Gutta-Percha Compagnie is founded in Hanover on October 8 as a joint stock company. Manufacturing at the main factory in Vahrenwalder Street includes soft rubber products, rubberized fabrics and solid tires for carriages and bicycles.


  • 1882

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    The rampant horse is adopted as trademark.





  • 1892

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    Continental is the first German company to manufacture pneumatic tires for bicycles.

  • 1898

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    Beginn Production of automobile pneumatic tires without tread pattern starts in Hanover- Vahrenwald.

  • 1900

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    The first German airship LZ 1 uses Continental balloon material to seal the gas bags.

  • 1901

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    The first Daimler-produced car to be called Mercedes achieves a sensational victory on Continental pneumatics in the Nice-Salon- Nice car race.

  • 1904

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    Continental presents the world’s first automobile tire with a patterned tread.

  • 1905

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    Continental produces riveted anti-skid tires, a forerunner of steel-studded tires. The picture shows an advertisement for studded tires from the 1960s.

  • 1908

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    Continental invents the detachable rim for sedans—a remarkable innovation to help save time and effort when changing a tire.

  • 1909

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    ​​​​​​​Louis Blériot, the pioneer aviator, makes history with the first flight across the English Channel. Continental Aeroplan material covers the fuselage and wings of his plane. Specimens of synthetic rubber developed at the Bayer laboratories are successfully vulcanized at Continental and processed to make the first test tires.

  • 1913

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    The first edition of the customer magazine “Echo Continental” is published featuring contributions from young authors such as Erich Maria Remarque and artists like Paul Kaufmann (alias Caspari).

  • 1914

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    Triple victory for Daimlers fitted with Continental tires at the French Grand Prix.

1914
1945
  • 1914

    Continental has a workforce of 12,000 in the parent plant.

  • 1921

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    The company’s 50th anniversary sees Continental become the first German company to launch the cord tire on the market. The stiff linen square-woven fabric is thus replaced by the more pliable cord fiber fabric. The first giant pneumatic tires are made by Continental and replace the solid tires used until that time on commercial vehicles.

  • 1926

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    Carbon black is used as a reinforcing filler to give the tire more resistance to wear and aging, as well as its characteristic color.

  • 1928/29

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    Merger with major companies of the German rubber industry to form Continental Gummi-Werke AG. Takeover of plants in Hanover-Limmer and Korbach/Hesse, shown above.

  • 1932

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    Continental markets a rubber-metal bonding under the registered trade name of Continental Schwingmetall. It is used to absorb shocks and reduce noise in the engine mounting.

  • 1935 - 40

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    Unbroken run of racing success with Continental racing tires fitted to Mercedes and Auto-Union cars. Four consecutive wins in the German Grand Prix, four successes in the North African Tripoli race, three in Italy and numerous speed records help racing drivers like Caracciola, Rosemeyer and Stuck achieve international fame.

  • 1936

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    Synthetic rubber is introduced into the tire manufacturing process.

  • 1943

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    Patent application filed for tubeless tires.

  • 1945

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    Heavy bomb damage to the plants in Hanover-Vahrenwald and Korbach. The British military government grants permission as early as June 14 for the Hanover factories to resume production.

1950
1960
  • Continental has a workforce of 13,500 in the parent plant. Annual sales reach 309 million Deutsche marks, which corresponds to around €158 million.

  • © Continental AG

    Production of steel cable conveyor belts starts.

  • 1951 - 55

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    In close collaboration with Daimler-Benz and Porsche, Continental repeats its prewar successes on the race track. Racing in cars fitted with Continental tires, drivers such as Karl Kling, Stirling Moss, and Juan Manuel Fangio win the 1952 Carrera Panamericana and the French, British, Dutch and Italian Grand Prix.

  • © Continental AG

    Continental adds M+S tires for winter driving to its range of conventional tires.

  • 1955

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    Continental is the first company to develop air springs for trucks and buses. Continental is the first German company to start manufacturing tubeless tires.

  • 1960

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    Mass production of radial tires begins.

1966
1987
  • 1966

    Continental now employs around 26,800 employees. Annual sales amount to 1.1 billion Deutsche marks, which corresponds to around €562 million.

  • 1967

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    Opening of the Contidrom tire testing facility on the edge of the Lüneburg Heath.

  • 1971

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    Europe’s largest hose manufacturing facilities are set up at the Korbach plant. The entire hose production is transferred from Hanover to Korbach.

  • 1972

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    Continental launches the studless Conti-Contact winter tire.

  • 1974

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    Continental is the first manufacturer to supply the European automotive industry with extrusion-blow-molded polyurethane gaiters.

  • 1976

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    In Northeim, one of Europe’s largest conveyor belt production lines is put into operation.

  • 1979

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    Takeover of the European tire operations of Uniroyal, Inc., USA, gives Continental a wider base in Europe (photo: Aachen plant).

  • 1983

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    Continental hydromounts—special bearing elements used in engine design for damping vibrations and noise— are mass-produced for the automotive industry.

  • 1985

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    Takeover of the tire operations of the Austrian company Semperit.

  • 1987

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    Acquisition of the North American tire manufacturer General Tire, Inc. The company has operated under the name of Continental Tire North America, Inc. since 2001.

1988
2001
  • 1988

    The company employs around 45,900 employees around the world. Annual sales amount to 7.9 billion Deutsche marks, which corresponds to around €4.0 billion euros.

  • 1989-90

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    ​​​​​​​A joint venture is set up together with the Portuguese company Mabor for the production of tires in Lousado. Complete takeover in 1993.

  • 1991

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    The industrial products operations are reorganized under the ContiTech umbrella brand. With its ContiEcoContact tire, Continental is the first manufacturer to launch an environmentally friendly passenger tire.

  • 1993

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    The majority holding in the Czech company Barum comprises a passenger and commercial vehicle tire plant in Otrokovice as well as a dealer organization with about 50 outlets.

    Continental currently has more than 2,200 tire retailers and franchises including various retail organizations such as Vergölst.

  • 1994

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    Benecke-Kaliko AG is integrated into the ContiTech Division. Key products are leatherette and foils.

  • 1995

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    The Automotive Systems division is established to intensify the systems business with the automotive industry.

  • 1997

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    Continental presents ISAD (Integrated Starter Alternator Damper). ISAD combines the vehicle’s starter and generator in a single unit. This key technology is a necessary precondition for hybrid propulsion systems that help to substantially reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

  • 1998

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    Acquisition of the Automotive Brake and Chassis unit of a globally active U.S. company, the core of which is Alfred Teves GmbH in Frankfurt am Main.

  • 1998 - 99

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    Continental reinforces its position as global tire manufacturer by adding sites in Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, and Slovakia. Further steps on the way towards internationalizing ContiTech’s operations are taken in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Hungary.

  • 2000

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    ​​​​​​​A new plant for the manufacture of passenger tires is opened in Timişoara, Romania. Continental and Nisshinbo set up a new joint venture (Continental Teves Corporation) in the field of brake and chassis systems for the Japanese and Korean markets.

  • 2001

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    Continental reinforces its activities within the growing automotive electronics market by acquiring Temic, an international electronics specialist (photo: Continental reinforces its position as global Nuremberg plant).

2003
2014
  • 2003

    The company employs around 68,000 employees around the world. Annual sales amount to €11.5 billion.


    © Continental AG

    ​​​​​​​Unveiling of ContiSportContact 2 Vmax, the world’s first road tire approved for speeds of up to 360 km/h.








    © Continental AG

    Continental strengthens its position as tire manufacturer in the ASEAN region and Australia by establishing the Malaysian Continental Sime Tyre joint venture.

  • 2004

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    Takeover of Phoenix AG. With the merger of ContiTech and Phoenix, the world’s largest specialist for rubber and plastics technology evolves (photo: plant in Hungary).

  • 2006

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    Continental acquires the automotive electronics business of the U.S. company Motorola, Inc., expanding its activities in telematics, among other fields.

  • 2007

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    With the acquisition of a majority interest in the Slovak company Continental Matador Rubber s.r.o., Continental expands its market position in Central and Eastern Europe. Continental acquires Siemens VDO Automotive AG and becomes one of the top five suppliers in the automotive industry worldwide, at the same time boosting its market position in Europe, North America, and Asia.

  • 2008

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    Production of lithium-ion batteries for use in vehicles with hybrid drives begins in the Nuremberg plant.

  • 2009

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    The new Asian headquarters and a research and development center are opened in Shanghai. The center represents another major milestone of the company’s growth in China and Asia. Schaeffler KG becomes the major shareholder of Continental AG following the conclusion of the takeover offer published in the summer of 2008.

  • 2010

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    The ContiSportContact™ 5 P is launched on the market. The new high-performance summer tire is specially designed for sports cars and custom vehicles.

  • 2011

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    Acquisition of the tire operations of the Indian-based Modi Tyres Company Ltd. with production facilities in Modipuram and Partapur. The first tire plant in China is opened in Hefei (Anhui province).





           

    © Continental AG

    Production of electric motors starts at the Gifhorn plant in Lower Saxony, Germany.

  • 2012

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    Comprehensive testing of automated driving starts in the U.S. state of Nevada. A highly automated Continental test vehicle has covered 15,000 miles of public roads so far—without any accidents.

  • 2013

    The new Continental branding is launched at the annual shareholders' meeting.

    © Continental AG

    The ContiLifeCycle comprises the lifecycle of Continental truck tires. Using a globally unique combination of rubber recycling and truck tire retreading, Continental has developed a sustainable solution that extends the service life of tires and considerably lowers costs.

  • 2014

    The company's global workforce exceeds 189,100 for the first time. Annual sales reach €34.5 billion.