- Founded a decade and a half before the first automobile was manufactured, Continental has been changing the world’s approach to mobility throughout its history
- The technology company reaches new heights in its 150th year
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 7, 2021 — Continental was founded as a startup in 1871 to manufacture soft rubber products and rubberized fabrics. Think of things like rubber combs and carriage tires as the first automobile was still years away. The 15 decades since then have been a journey of innovation and impact for the technology company. In its 150th year, Continental is showcasing how it has succeeded for so long by breaking new barriers across industries.
“15 decades of success. It’s remarkable to look back to see how the company has transformed from a startup to the international team that we are today,” said Samir Salman, CEO of Continental North America. “It demonstrates the strength of our people and our culture. The hard work and dedication of our employees in North America has been on full display despite the challenges over the past year plus. Their perseverance, passion and drive to innovate will power us for the next 150 years.”
Mobility has been the heartbeat of Continental since its inception. Continental makes automobiles smarter and more efficient with award-winning products like Transparent Trailer, Advanced Radar Sensors and innovative Head-Up Displays. Ensuring everyone on the road reaches their destination safely is a major focus. The technology inside cars has greatly improved road safety, and this year Continental is expanding that to infrastructure.
In 2021, Continental broke ground on a pilot for its Wrong-Way Driver (WWD) technology in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The WWD system is designed to be permanently installed along the highway and at exit ramps. It detects a car traveling the wrong way and sends information to other vehicles, giving drivers enough time to react and avoid any crashes. Crashes involving wrong-way drivers are among the most catastrophic, with almost 400 people killed every year in the United States. Technology inside of cars is vastly evolving to make travel safer, and Continental is deploying products like WWD to make infrastructure work with vehicles to save lives on the road.
Continental is also a leader in the product that connects vehicles to roads: tires. As a pioneer in the rubber industry, Continental began producing pneumatic tires for bicycles in 1892. The new type of tire made it safe and comfortable to ride across paving stones – like the ones laid all around the Vahrenwald plant in 1899.
Over 125 years later, Continental Tire is still reimagining tires for contemporary mobility. Today, that includes electric vehicles, where Continental is breaking world records. Continental tires were relied on to set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ for the longest distance covered by an electric truck without a charging stop. With partners DPD Switzerland and Futuricum, the EV truck traveled a total of 682.88 miles – equal to about ten hours of nonstop driving at highway speeds.
Continental has been recognized as a premium tire manufacturer throughout its history. Worldwide, three out of every four vehicles are equipped with its tires or automotive technologies. Now, Continental is showing the world the next frontier for tires: Russian dandelions. The flowering weed is held up as a key component to the future of tires at Continental Tire. The team has produced the first tires where the tread is made 100 percent out of Russian dandelion natural rubber as a polymer.
Continental’s impact is felt off the road as well. It develops products in Advanced Dynamics Solutions, Conveying Solutions, Industrial Fluid Solutions, Mobile Fluid Systems, Power Transmission Group, and Surface Solutions. The work benefits industries from agriculture to industrial plant engineering.
Continental introduced an app this year to revolutionize the way belt customers purchase, repair, and extend the longevity of products. The Make Power Smart app combines multiple tools into one to put power at the fingertips of customers. The app offers the ability to check belt tension, realign pulleys and set proper pulley distance, all through a mobile phone. This allows Continental customers to adjust on the fly rather than calling in an external team to troubleshoot.
Make Power Smart is just one example of the innovative solutions developed by Continental.
Continental has nearly 15,000 employees in the United States today among its more than 193,000 team members in 58 countries and markets. It has been recognized as one of the top companies to work for by publications such as Fortune and Forbes.
To learn more about Continental’s 150-year journey of innovation and impact, please find historical resources and references on the Continental website.