Early history 1898–1926
The first Goodyear factory opened in Akron, Ohio, in 1898. The company originally manufactured bicycle and carriage tires, rubber horseshoe pads, and poker chips, and grew with the advent of the automobile.In 1901, Goodyear founder Frank Seiberling provided Henry Ford with racing tires. In 1903, Goodyear president, chairman and CEO Paul Weeks Litchfield was granted a patent for the first tubeless automobile tire.In 1916, Litchfield found land in the Phoenix area suitable for growing long-staple cotton, which was needed to reinforce its rubber in tires. The 36,000 acres purchased were controlled by the Southwest Cotton Company, formed with Litchfield as president.
In 1924, Litchfield forged a joint venture with the German Luftschiffbau Zeppelin Company to form the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation. From the late 1920s to 1940, the company worked with Goodyear to build two Zeppelins in the United States. The partnership continued even when Zeppelin was under Nazi control and only ended after World War II began.
On August 5, 1927, Goodyear had its initial public offering and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.By 1930, Goodyear had pioneered what would later become known as "tundra tires" for smaller aircraft—their so-called low inflation pressure "airwheel" aviation wheel-rim/tire sets were initially available in sizes up to 46 inches in diameter.Over the next few decades, Goodyear grew to become a multinational corporation. It acquired their rival Kelly-Springfield Tire in 1935. During World War II Goodyear manufactured F4U Corsair fighter planes for the U.S. Military. Goodyear ranked 30th among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts. WWII forced the dissolution of the Goodyear-Zeppelin partnership in December 1940. By 1956 they owned and operated a nuclear processing plant in Ohio.
In 1944, Goodyear created a subsidiary in Mexico in a joint venture with Compañía Hulera, S.A. de C.V., Compañía Hulera Goodyear-Oxo, S.A. de C.V. or Goodyear-Oxo.
Radial tire transition
Goodyear is the only one of the five biggest tire firms among US tire manufacturers in 1970 to remain independent into the 21st century. Goodyear's success was partly due to the challenge posed by radial tire technology, and the varied responses. At the time, the entire US tire industry produced the older bias-ply technology. Estimates to fit factories with new machinery and tools for making the new product were between $600 million and $900 million. This was a substantial amount in a low margin business with sales revenue in the low billions. The US market was slowly shifting towards the radial tire, as had already been the case in Europe and Asia. In 1968, Consumer Reports, an influential American magazine, acknowledged the superiority of radial construction, which had been developed in 1946 by Michelin.When Charles J. Pilliod Jr. became CEO in 1974, he faced a major investment decision regarding the radial tire, which today has a market share of nearly 100%. Despite heavy criticism at the time, Pilliod invested heavily in new factories and tooling to build the radial tire. Sam Gibara, who headed Goodyear from 1996 to 2003, has noted that without the action of Pilliod, Goodyear "wouldn't be around today."Sales for 1969 topped $3 billion. Five years later sales topped $5 billion and Goodyear operated in 34 countries. In 1978, the original Akron plant was converted into a Technical Center for research and design. By 1985, worldwide sales exceeded $10 billion.
Goodyear Aerospace, a holding that developed from the Goodyear Aircraft Company after World War II, designed a supercomputer for NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center in 1979, the MPP. The subsidiary was sold in 1987 to the Loral Corporation as a result of restructuring.
In 1987, Goodyear formed a business partnership with Canadian tire retailer Fountain Tire.
Diversification and Goldsmith affair 1986
In the 1980s, incoming Goodyear CEO Robert E. Mercer argued that the tire and automobile-related businesses that formed the core of Goodyear to that date were slow growing and a handicap. He set a strategy "to get away from the cyclical nature of the automobile business through mergers or purchase of businesses unrelated to tires or vehicles."In 1983, Goodyear acquired the natural gas company Celeron Corporation in exchange for stock valued at more than $740 million. It went on to invest heavily in gas exploration including the 1,200 mile crude oil "All American" pipeline from California to Texas. The project was initially estimated to cost $600 million but ultimately cost almost $1 billion.In October 1986 British financier James Goldsmith in conjunction with the investment group Hanson purchased 11.5% of Goodyear's outstanding common stock. This was viewed as a greenmail attack by some, and as shareholder activism by Goldsmith, who viewed the company's move into areas far removed from tire development production and sale as commercially ill-advised and wanted the company to divest, especially, its oil interests which he viewed as depressing the value of the company.On November 20, 1986, Goodyear acquired all of the stock held by Goldsmith's group at an above-market price of $49.50 per share. Goodyear also made a tender offer for up to 40 million shares of its stock from other shareholders at $50 per share. The tender offer resulted in Goodyear buying 40,435,764 shares of stock in February 1987.
As a result of the stock buyback, Goodyear took a charge of $224.6 million associated with a massive restructuring plan. It sold its Goodyear Aerospace business to Loral Corporation for $588 million and its motor wheel business to Lemmerz Inc. for $175 million. Two subsidiaries involved in agricultural products, real estate development, and a resort hotel in Arizona were sold for $220.1 million. The company also sold the Celeron gas and oil corporation. In 1998, the All American Pipeline, Celeron Gathering, and Celeron Trading and Transportation were sold, largely completing what Goldsmith's hostile takeover had suggested good management should do. In the years following 1987, the company invested in its tire business. President Tom Barrett succeeded Chairman Robert Mercer in 1989, and began a process of modernizing and expanding Goodyear plants in cities like Lawton, Oklahoma, Napanee, Canada, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Scottsboro, Alabama. In the 2000s, the move of business into low-wage countries, facilitated by GATT , resulted in plants across North America being shuttered, for instance Cumberland, Maryland; New Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Windsor, Vermont were closed.
1990 to present
The last major restructuring of the company took place in 1991. Goodyear hired Stanley Gault, former CEO of Rubbermaid, to expand the company into new markets. The moves resulted in 12,000 employees being laid off.In 2005, Titan Tire purchased the farm tire business of Goodyear, and manufactures Goodyear agricultural tires under license. This acquisition included the plant in Freeport, Illinois.In the summer of 2009, the company announced it would close its tire plant in the Philippines as part of a strategy to address uncompetitive manufacturing capacity globally by the end of the third quarter of that year.Goodyear announced plans to sell the assets of its Latin American off-road tire business to Titan Tire for $98.6 million, including the plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil and a licensing agreement that allows Titan to continue manufacturing under the Goodyear brand. This deal is similar to Titan's 2005 purchase of Goodyear's US farm tire assets.In 2011, more than 70 years after the dissolution of the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation, it is announced that Goodyear will partner with Zeppelin again to build more zeppelins together.In 2018, Goodyear and Bridgestone announced the creation of TireHub, a joint wholesale distribution network across the United States. At the same time, Goodyear also announced that it was ending its distribution relationship with American Tire Distributors, which used to be the largest tire wholesaler in the US.In 2018, Goodyear was ordered to pay $40.1 million to J. Walter Twidwell, who claimed he developed mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos. After the trial, Goodyear asked the New York Supreme Court for a new trial. Goodyear attorney James Lynch said Goodyear did not receive proper consideration from the jury. Lynch said that the other side's attorneys engaged in character assassinations against expert witnesses. During closing remarks, the attorneys for Twidwell put up a slide with the heads of Goodyear's expert witnesses pasted onto "insulting caricatures."In December 2018, Goodyear ceased operations in Venezuela due a lack of materials and rising costs resulting from hyperinflation.In February 2021, Goodyear announced that it will acquire the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company for $2.5 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
1898: Goodyear founded
1899: Automobile tires added to the original product line of bicycle tires, carriage tires and horseshoe pads
1901: Seiberling makes racing tires for Henry Ford
1903: Paul Litchfield granted patent on first tubeless automobile tire
1908: Ford's Model T is outfitted with Goodyear tires
1909: First pneumatic aircraft tire
1911: First airship envelope
1912: Goodyear blimp first debuts
1917: Made airships and balloons for the U.S. military during World War I
1919: Tires on the winning car at the Indianapolis 500
1924: Zeppelin patents acquired, joint venture Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation formed with the German company
1925: Pilgrim is launched, the first commercial non-rigid airship to use helium
1926: World's largest rubber company, based on sales of $230,161,356
1927: Initial public offering
1929: Construction of world's largest airship dock started in Akron
1929: Introduction of first-known example of low-pressure tundra tires for aviation, invented by Alvin J. Musselman as Goodyear "Airwheels"
1935: Acquired Kelly-Springfield Tire
1937: First American-made synthetic rubber tire
1940: In December, Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation dissolved with WWII straining partnership
1942: Awarded contract to build FG-series Corsair naval fighter planes
1944: Tire testing begins near San Angelo, Texas
1947: First nylon tires developed
1949: First television advertising with sponsorship of "The Goodyear Review," hosted by Paul Whiteman
1954: First nationwide strike in company's history lasted 52 days
1956: Goodyear-operated U235 atomic processing plant opens in Ohio
1957: Goodyear Proving Grounds for tire testing, near San Angelo, Texas, is rebuilt
1958: Production of foam-padded instrument panels begun for 1959 model cars
1962: Goodyear racing tires used on more winning stock and sports cars than any other brand
1963: Goodyear produces its one billionth tire
1965: Radial-ply tires made available in a full range of sizes to auto manufacturers
1967: Goodyear introduces the Polyglas tire, one of the first wide-tread bias-belted fiberglass tires, which along with similar tires from competitors such as the Firestone Wide-Oval would become regular equipment on 1970 to 1974 models, which would be superseded by radial tires beginning in 1975.
1969: Sales reach $3 billion
1970: First tires on the moon
1974: Sales reach $5 billion
1975: All tires used in Indianapolis 500 supplied by Goodyear
1976: Chemical Division shipped first shatterproof polyester resin bottles
1977: Industry's first all-season tire introduced
1978: Akron plant converted into Technical Center for R&D
1983: Three billionth tire produced
1984: Worldwide sales exceed $10 billion
1986: James Goldsmith takeover attempt and resulting restructuring
1987: Completion of the California - Texas "All American" oil pipeline
1991: Aquatred tire introduced
1992: Began selling tires at Sears stores
1993: Opened first tire store in Beijing, China
1993: Inauguration of Dalian plant, China
1994: "electronic store" opened on CompuServe
1995: Worldwide sales exceed $13 billion
1995: Bought Polish Tire Company D?bica
1998: Sold the All American Pipeline and Celeron businesses
1999: Announced $1 billion global alliance with Japan's Sumitomo Rubber Industries, which had rights to the Dunlop Tyres brand in much of the world, to establish six joint ventures in North America, Europe and Japan
2000: Formed an Internet-based purchasing alliance with five other rubber companies called RubberNetwork.com
2003: Quarterly dividend to shareholders eliminated
2004: Assurance TripleTred and ComforTred tires introduced
2005: North American farm tire operations sold to Titan Tire Corporation
2006: Goodyear blimp made maiden voyage in China
2007: Engineered Products Division sold to Carlyle Group; EPD is renamed Veyance Technologies
2008: Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association trust approved by U.S. District Court, funded with $1 billion
2009: Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tire introduced in North America
2010: Plans announced to sell European and Latin American farm tire businesses
2011: After being dissolved during WWII, Goodyear and Zeppelin's legacy company partner again to build more airships together
2013: New headquarters complex opens in Akron
2015: Goodyear and Sumitomo announced that they would dissolve their worldwide partnership.
2018: The company ranked 187th on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States companies by revenue marking its 24th year on the list
2020: The company unveiled a self-regenerating concept tire with artificial intelligence features that allow the tire treads to change according to the environment and climate. The technology also uses sensors to learn from driver behavior. Information is sent to Goodyear's cloud servers where it is processed to build drivers' profiles, allowing predictions to be made based on drivers' data.
Mr. Christopher Raymond Delaney (Pres of Europe, Middle East & Africa)
Mr. Christopher P. Helsel (Sr. VP of Global Operations & CTO)
Mr. Christian Gadzinski (Sr. Director of Investor Relations)
Mr. David E. Phillips Esq. (Sr. VP & Gen. Counsel)
Ms. Laura P. Duda (Sr. VP & Chief Communications Officer)
Mr. Mike Dwyer (Chief Marketing Officer)
Mr. Gary S. VanderLind (Sr. VP & Chief HR Officer)
Recognition and Awards
Mr. Richard J. Kramer (Chairman, CEO & Pres)
Mr. Darren R. Wells (Exec. VP & CFO)
Mr. Stephen R. McClellan (Pres of Americas)