Tyres and information
Based in Japan, Bridgestone is the world’s largest tyre and rubber company. The company is at the forefront of tyre and rubber technology, pouring millions every year into developing premium quality and budget tyres. Bridgestone was founded in the 1930′s by Mr Shojiro Ishibashi, and now employs over 105,000 people in 150 countries and has production facilities and test and research centres around the world.
Today, Bridgestone plays a leading role in the development of Formula One race tyres, and is a major sponsor of the sport. Although their F1 tyres are completely different from road tyres for the average family car, the same technology that has made Bridgestone a force to be reckoned with in the sporting arena goes into a mid-range radial road tyre. The data gathered for their F1 clients then filters down through the Ultra H.
Michelin is one of the biggest names in motorsport, particularly motorcycle GP racing. The company has a history of innovative design, and was the first to introduce the radial tyre as standard. More recently, the company developed the PAX run-flat system, enabling a car to carry on running even on a flat tyre.
The company was founded in 1889 by the Michelin Brothers and operates in over 170 countries and has manufacturing interests throughout the world. It was the first western tyre manufacturer to invest heavily in China and is in partnership with India’s Apollo Tyres to develop the Radial tyre market on the domestic front, offering a cheaper alternative to its premium brand tyres.
With the world focused on energy saving, Michelin is now researching into more efficient and energy saving tyres. Their Energy range claims to be more economical than traditional tyres, helping motorists save money and run more efficiently.
One of the oldest and most established tyre manufacturers in the world, Continental is involved in research into tyres, chassis development and brakes. It recently achieved its goal of developing a car that could stop from 100kph in under 30metres and the research carried out will be used to develop tyres and braking systems capable of reducing braking distances in the future. It is this constant programme of research and development that shows that there is far more to the manufacture of tyres than just what kind of rubber to use.
Continental’s research has produced some completely different approaches to tyre tread design, including winter tyres designed to retain snow between the tread blocks for added traction on snow and ice. For extreme weather conditions, Continental is at the cutting edge of tyre technology.
The granddaddy of tyre manufacturers, Dunlop is the original. Dunlop is part of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Corporation with its headquarters in Birmingham, just yards from the original Fort Dunlop, the previous global headquarters of the Dunlop Tire Company. Dunlop, founded by the claimed innovator of the pneumatic tyre, John Boyd Dunlop, has the greatest corporate experience in the world of tyre manufacturing, and it is this heritage that has established the company as one of the forerunners in tyre development for over 130 years.
The company boasts one of the world’s largest dedicated motorsport divisions, supplying thousands of tyres every week to global motorsport events. As with many of the large manufacturers, it is this experience in the demanding world of motorsport that filters down to its commercial operations and produces tyres that are suitable for almost any condition the average family car is likely to encounter.
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Corporation is the largest tyre manufacturer in the world with interests in Dunlop and many other brands around the globe. The name of Goodyear is ubiquitous with every aspect of the rubber market, particularly tyres.
Founded in Ohio, Goodyear has been at the heart of the development of the tyre market and is a volume leader in many sectors. It also operates a large research and development centre in Luxembourg, where tyres are designed to meet European market needs and tested to destruction under the most demanding test procedures. All of this makes Goodyear one of the forerunners in tyre development for the commercial market.
Never afraid to push the boundaries of tyres, they even play with innovative concepts that would be unheard of in any other arena. Goodyear offers tyres for every motoring situation and the products are fitted as standard with almost every car manufacturer around the world.
Described as the ‘Italian word for tyres’, Pirelli is one of the most powerful companies in Italy – and its core business is tyres. It is one of the top tyre manufacturers in the world with 21 factories and around 20,000 employees across every continent. Pirelli’s tyre sector has a marketing network covering over 120 countries around the world and sales in the billions every year. Pirelli tyres are probably most associated with high performance motoring, and much of its initial research and development focuses in this area.
However, as with all tyre manufacturers, that research filters down to the general market, and Pirelli tyres are on the wish list of every hot hatch owner and car lover around the world.
Pirelli’s Zero range of tyres is now being marketed in Europe and North America under the Planet Zero brand. These are premium, high performance tyres designed for every type of car from the family hatchback to the biggest names in supercars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and even the legendary Bugatti.