Continental Reveals How it Lasted 150 Years, Shares Future Plans

Auburn Hills-based automotive supplier Continental was founded in 1871 to manufacture soft rubber products and rubberized fabrics. Now in its 150th year, Continental is showcasing how it has succeeded for so long by breaking new barriers across industries.
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After 150 years, Continental continues to innovate tires for contemporary mobility. // Courtesy of Continental
After 150 years, Continental continues to innovate tires for contemporary mobility. // Courtesy of Continental

Auburn Hills-based automotive supplier Continental was founded in 1871 to manufacture soft rubber products and rubberized fabrics. Now in its 150th year, Continental is showcasing how it has succeeded for so long by breaking new barriers across industries.

For example, Continental’s recent products like Transparent Trailer, advanced radar sensors, and head-up displays are designed to make automobiles smarter and more efficient.

During its anniversary year, Continental broke ground on a pilot for its Wrong-Way Driver (WWD) technology in Auburn Hills. 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.

Continental also is a leader in 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.

More than 125 years later, Continental Tire says it 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 Record 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 10 hours of nonstop driving at highway speeds.

Worldwide, three out of every four vehicles are equipped with Continental’s tires or automotive technologies.

As it looks to the future, Continental is developing tires made from Russian dandelion rubber as a polymer.

The company also is developing products focused on advanced dynamics, conveying, industrial fluids, mobile fluid systems, power transmissions, and surfaces. The work benefits industries from agriculture to industrial plant engineering.

Continental introduced an app this year to help engine 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.

As the company celebrates its 150th anniversary, it has nearly 15,000 employees in the United States today among its more than 193,000 team members in 58 countries and markets.

“It’s remarkable to look back to see how the company has transformed from a startup to the international team that we are today,” says 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.”

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