Which Tires Are Made in America?by Cheryl Teal
Many brands of tires are still manufactured in the United States despite consolidations in the tire manufacturing world. Some of the tire brands, which were initially made by U.S. companies, are now made by multi-national conglomerates that have manufacturing plants mostly located in the eastern United States. Hoovers, a Dun and Bradstreet company, says, "100 companies make tires in the United States, but four companies—Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Cooper—account for 75 percent of the $13 billion generated in revenue annually."
Tire Codes Required
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires all tires sold in the United States to have a code stamped on them. The code looks like this: DOT XX XX XXX XXX. The first two letters or a letter and a number after DOT indicate the company and the plant where the tire was manufactured. For example, if the code started DOT BE, it indicates the tire is made by B.F. Goodrich in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Manufacturers and Locations
Some companies make thousands of different tires, so sorting out who made what and where can be confusing. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers maintains a list of codes for unionized tire manufacturers on its website. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also maintains a searchable database to locate the manufacturer and its location. The database can also be downloaded and viewed in Access.
Cooper and Goodyear tire companies started out as American manufacturers and have stayed that way to some extent. Goodyear is now an international company, but its world headquarters remain in Akron, Ohio. It also owns the Kelly Springfield and Dunlop brands. Cooper manufactures tires in Ohio and Georgia; Goodyear in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New York and Kansas. Denman Tire, founded in 1919, is based in Ohio.
Major Global Tire Companies
Michelin is the world’s largest manufacturer of tires for vehicles from bicycles to the space shuttle. The French company purchased the American firm Uniroyal-Goodrich company in 1989. In the United States, it manufactures tires in Alabama, North and South Carolina and Arkansas. Bridgestone, a Japanese company bought out Firestone, another company with American roots, in 1998 and makes tires in North and South Carolina, Ohio, Illinois and Tennessee.
Other International Companies
Continental Tire, a subsidiary of a German company, makes tires in five states: Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Illinois. General Tires are now made by Continental. Yokohama, another Japanese multinational, manufactures tires in Virginia.
Cheryl Teal is an award-winning photojournalist who began writing professionally in 1968. She is a former small-business owner who specializes in writing about business, motorcycles and travel. She has her own line of travel guides called "Cheryl's Guides," which are mostly about travel in China. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.