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Over 150 years of expertise and passion for tires

Continental can look back on a long success story that dates back to 1871. While our history has been shaped by numerous milestones, we have never lost sight of our goal: to make mobility cleaner, safer, and smarter. Look up the complete history of our company.

Our most significant milestones on the way to becoming one of the world’s leading tire manufacturers:

The early days (1871 - 1900)

Original image of a Continental factory in 1898


The “Continental-Caoutchouc- und Gutta-Percha Compagnie” is founded in Hanover on October 8.

Continental Factory 1899


Continental is the first German company to produce pneumatic bicycle tires, known as “pneumatics”.

Continental Advertising 1892

Pioneering spirit (1901 – 1930)

Original image of Continental at the IAA 1905


In Seelze, near Hanover, Continental builds a branch plant to reprocess scrap rubber.


World first: Continental develops tires with tread patterns for cars, thus significantly improving the performance of tires in relation to their transmission of force, traction, braking distances and cornering stability.

Continental Advertising 1904


Continental invents the detachable rim for touring cars, a remarkable innovation that saves the time and effort required for tire changes.


On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Continental becomes the first German company to launch cord tires on the market, with finely woven fabric cord superseding the less pliant square-woven linen fabric. In the same year, Continental’s giant tires replace the solid tires commonly used until that time.


Continental introduces the first Super-Elastic tire. It is able to bear particularly heavy loads and is ideal for heavy-duty transportation and industrial vehicles. The great success of the ContiSuperElastic solid car tire led to the abbreviation that is customary for this category within the industry today: CSE.

Continental Advertising for Semi-Pneumatic tires 1904


The first tires for tractors and tractor units are manufactured. The T2 tractor tire is the first pneumatic agricultural tire in Europe.

Continental tractor tires 1928

Progress continues (1931 – 1982)

Continental tires in a factory in 1960


Continental files a patent for the tubeless tire, an invention that reduced the rolling resistance of tires significantly.

Continental patent specification 1943


First winter tire test in history: Continental traverses the St. Gotthard Pass in Switzerland with its M+S (Mud and Snow) tires.


An important year for Continental’s specialist agricultural tires: Almost 100,000 tractors are registered in Germany alone. With the AS Farmer, Continental presents a particularly robust, high-grip tire.

Continental Advertising "Farmer-Reifen" 1957


Opening of the Contidrom test track on the edge of Lüneburg Heath.


The first driverless test vehicle took to the Contidrom as early as 1968. Using special sensors, the electronics detected whether the vehicle was heading in the right direction and made the appropriate steering adjustments automatically. Specific commands – brake, accelerate, honk the horn – were sent from a control station to the vehicle via the cable.


With snap-in tire technology, Continental unveils the next revolutionary development. The technology enables an optimum rim seat, cost savings and quick fitting.

The path to sustainability (1983 – today)

Image of the "30 meters car" on track


The carcass guarantee for commercial vehicle tires is introduced. Under the name ContiLifeCycle, Continental provides end-to-end support throughout the entire product lifecycle – from customer consultations, sales, breakdown assistance service and retreading through to professional disposal.


Ahead of the curve as always, Continental unveiled the ContiEcoContact – the first efficiency-optimized tire – back in 1992, establishing a whole new tire line for cars in the process.

Continental Advertising EcoContact 1992


The 30-meter car. Coordinating all the systems involved in executing a braking operation makes it possible to develop a vehicle that can brake to a standstill from a speed of 100 km/h in just 30 meters. A reduction in braking distance of as much as 25 percent at that time.


In 2002, Continental launched the first sensors designed to be installed inside tires. Since then, tire pressure sensors have been able to provide tire-specific information about current pressures and conveniently alert the driver if any of the tires happens to be under-inflated.


When it launched the ContiSportContact Vmax in 2003, Continental became the only company to manufacture a production tire with a permissible top speed of 360 km/h.


This is the year that saw Continental first bundle all its services for fleet customers under its brand name “Conti360° Fleet Services.” Fleet operators receive highly professional comprehensive service for tires from a single source.


The Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer (AIBA) is opened at the Contidrom proving ground. This one-of-a-kind facility allows the brake performance of tires to be tested fully automatically on different surfaces – all year round and regardless of the weather.

Car during Automated Indoor Braking Analyser


The ContiLifeCycle plant, the only one of its kind in the world, is opened in Hanover. With its integrated approach encompassing hot and cold retreading for truck and bus tires and featuring a purpose-built, industrial-scale rubber recycling facility, it plays a pioneering role. 


Opening of the “Taraxagum Lab Anklam” in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The laboratory is dedicated to research into the cultivation and processing of the Russian dandelion as an alternative to the rubber tree as a source of raw material.

Exactly 50 years after the first driverless tire test vehicles started doing the rounds at the Contidrom, their state-of-the-art successors started doing the same in Uvalde, Texas. The new driverless tire test vehicle for the proving ground in the U.S.A. was a version of the “Cruising Chauffeur” – a test vehicle developed by Continental for highway cruising – that had been specially modified to perform tire testing.

Taraxagum Lab Anklam


Urban Taraxagum – a bicycle tire launched in 2019 and manufactured in Korbach, Germany – became the first volume product to be made from rubber from dandelions that, incidentally, are also grown in Germany.

A person riding a bike with Taraxagum tires


Continental presents the Conti GreenConcept at the IAA in Munich. In this concept study, the premium tire manufacturer combines current and future technologies for making sustainable car tires, thus providing a further insight into its varied sustainability activities in the process. The concept study underlines Continental’s ambition to completely switch to sustainably produced materials in its tire products.

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