In early October, the international tire manufacturer and automotive supplier Continental inaugurated a new dry handling track at its proving grounds at Uvalde, Texas, for tire and vehicle testing. Twelve meters wide and over three kilometers long, the track with its demanding layout offers rich opportunities to test many of the Corporation’s products, including tires, driver assistance systems, and components for automated driving, also when driving at the limit. Continental will be using not only cars but also SUVs, vans, and motorcycles as test vehicles. In terms of layout, the new stretch of blacktop resembles the dry handling track at the Contidrom north of Hanover, but features elements that the German facility does not offer.
The Uvalde proving grounds are used by Continental Tire The Americas, by automakers, and by tire testers from Hanover who are normally based at the Contidrom proving grounds north of the city. From a German viewpoint, the trip to Texas to test new tires makes most sense when wintry weather conditions make testing in Northern and Western Europe impossible.
Since 2011, in the context of its Vision 2025 growth strategy, the Tire Division of Continental has invested more than two billion euros in the creation of additional production capacities. The strategic aim is to create a better global balance which, in the long term, will enable rising worldwide demand for Continental tires to be met by regional production plants in the three regions “The Americas”, “EMEA”, and “APAC”. Moves that have already advanced this aim include the opening of not only the Sumter plant in South Carolina, USA in 2014 but also of tire plants in Russia (2013) and China (2011), as well as the ongoing expansion of Continental’s existing production facilities in Europe.