Continental was founded in Hanover in 1871 as the stock corporation “Continental-Caoutchouc- und Gutta-Percha Compagnie”. Manufacturing at the main factory in Hanover included soft rubber products, rubberized fabrics, and solid tires for carriages and bicycles.
In 1898, initial successes in development and production were celebrated with the production of automobile pneumatic tires with a plain tread. At the turn of the century Continental balloon fabric was used to seal the gas cells of the first German airship. In 1904 Continental became the first company in the world to develop grooved tires for automobiles, in 1905 we commenced production of rivet anti-skid tires, similar to the later studded tires, and three years later we invented the detachable wheel rim for touring cars. In 1909, French aviator Louis Blériot was the first person to fly the English Channel. The flying surfaces of his monoplane were covered with Continental Aeroplan material.
In the late 1920s, the company merged with major companies in the rubber industry to form “Continental Gummi-Werke AG”.
In 1951 we commenced production of steel cord conveyor belts. In 1955, we were the first company to develop air springs for trucks and buses. Series production of belted tires began in 1960. Around 30 years later we brought the first environmentally friendly tires for passenger cars onto the market.
In 1995 the Automotive Systems division was established to intensify the systems business with the automotive industry. We presented the key technology for hybrid drive systems back in 1997.
Today, Continental ranks among the top 5 automotive suppliers worldwide and holds the number 2 spot in Europe.
As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication.
With 148,228 employees (Status: December 31, 2010) in 46 countries, the Continental Corporation is divided into the Automotive Group and the Rubber Group, and consists of six divisions:
- Chassis & Safety embraces the company’s core competence in networked driving safety, brakes, driver assistance, passive safety and chassis components.
- Powertrain represents innovative and efficient system solutions for vehicle powertrains.
- Interior combines all activities relating to the presentation and management of information in the vehicle.
- Passenger and Light Truck Tires develops and manufactures tires for compact, medium-size, and full-size passenger cars, as well as for SUVs, vans, motorcycles, and bicycles.
- Commercial Vehicle Tires offers a wide range of truck, bus, industrial, and off-road tires for the most diverse service areas and application requirements.
- ContiTech develops and produces functional parts, components, and systems for the automotive industry and for other key industries.